By Don’t Drill Lowcountry for Island Eye News
Our extraordinary coastline is in peril. Don’t Drill Lowcountry is a grassroots movement, led by Sullivan’s Island residents who are working to protect South Carolina’s pristine shore from seismic testing and offshore oil drilling. As the anti drilling movement has surged across the Southeast region, Don’t Drill Lowcountry has joined forces with other citizen groups to form a coalition across South Carolina, Georgia, North Carolina and Virginia. Don’t Drill Lowcountry’s aim is to inform and empower citizens of South Carolina to ask our elected officials to stop offshore drilling in the Atlantic.
Don’t Drill Lowcountry will hold a Public Rally and Launch on September 15 with the Keynote addresses by Congressman Mark Sanford and Senator Chip Campsen. Hamilton Davis, Energy Program Director for the Coastal Conservation League, will also speak.
The event is open to the public and begins at 6:30 p.m. with speakers at 7 p.m.. Drinks provided by Palmetto Brewing. The event will be held at the Charleston Harbor Resort Yacht Club, 32 Patriots Point Road, Mt. Pleasant.
Don’t Drill Lowcountry began as a small group of ordinary citizens with a deep love of our extraordinary coast. In no time, the group formed alliances with similar groups across the state and up and down the South Atlantic coast, with a common mission to educate and advocate residents of South Carolina about the devastating impact that offshore drilling poses for our pristine coastline, vibrant tourism industry, spectacular beaches and scenic coastal towns.
Famous street artist Shepard Fairey has thrown his support behind Don’t Drill Lowcountry by offering his Paradise Turns graphic to the cause.
Dick Wildermann, a Seabrook Island resident who worked for over 25 years for the U.S. Department of the Interior’s Offshore Oil and Gas Program, supports the group’s focus on educating the public about the risks posed by offshore drilling.
“The intrinsic value of our natural resources far exceeds any perceived benefits of offshore oil development. Big oil may seem to be an economic opportunity, but it has less appeal when you look under the hood. The activities, infrastructure, and inevitable pollution associated with offshore oil would forever transform the Lowcountry way of life,” said Wildermann.
The South Carolina coast has almost universally come out in opposition to offshore drilling. Twenty one local jurisdiction in South Carolina have passed resolutions opposing offshore drilling including the Isle of Palms, Sullivan’s Island, the City of Charleston, Charleston County, Folly Beach, McClellanville, Mt. Pleasant, Kiawah, Seabrook, Hilton Head, Beaufort, Edisto Beach, Myrtle Beach, Georgetown and Atlantic Beach. Columbia has also joined in the opposition.
Congressman Sanford and Senator Campsen are standing up in support of their constituents to oppose offshore drilling: “In the case of South Carolina, weighing the balance between large blocks of untouched coastal estuarine areas, and in other parts, an established tourism industry, against the potential benefits of drilling is not something that Washington officials are best positioned to do. In my view, it makes little sense to even conduct tests when the states and regions affected will have no say in the process of determining – especially when factoring potential impacts on the environment, tourism, along with other risks inherent in the process,” Sanford said.
“I have observed firsthand the land-based infrastructure necessary to support offshore drilling. It is not a pretty sight. It is extensive, dirty and highly industrial. There simply is no place on South Carolina’s coast appropriate for this kind of industrialization,” Campsen said.
Learn more about Don’t Drill Lowcountry at www.dontdrillsc-lowcountry.org.