By Reagan Kelley for Island Eye News
Senator Chip Campsen (R-Charleston, Beaufort, and Colleton Counties) today responded to a Wall Street Journal account suggesting Interior Secretary David Bernhardt may place an indefinite hold on Trump Administration offshore oil drilling plans.
Senator Campsen, a maritime industry executive, provided, “I hope the Secretary of Interior intends to put all newly proposed offshore drilling and testing on hold, but his intent is not clear. His comments were made in the context of a recent federal court injunction staying drilling in the arctic and northeast Atlantic only. The injunction does not cover the southeast Atlantic, and it’s unclear whether the indefinite hold applies to waters off South Carolina.“
Campsen continued, “Even if the indefinite hold does apply to waters off our coast, we can’t afford to rely solely upon the federal government to protect our coast. In early 2018 Secretary of Interior Zinke announced Florida would be exempt from offshore drilling. A few weeks later the exemption was revoked.“
“South Carolina must take charge of its own destiny,“ Campsen said. “Even if Secretary Bernhardt intends to place drilling in the southeast Atlantic on hold, that hold can be lifted at any time. Campsen concluded, “It’s imperative the General Assembly pass my budget proviso prohibiting permitting of infrastructure for offshore drilling and testing. The Senate passed it overwhelmingly last week by a vote of 40 to 4. If the House concurs South Carolina becomes the one in charge of protecting its magnificent coast, not the federal government.”
Elected to the South Carolina Senate in 2004, Senator Chip Campsen represents approximately one-half of South Carolina’s coast. His district includes coastal areas in Charleston, Colleton, and Beaufort Counties. In addition to serving as the chairman of the Senate Fish, Game and Forestry Committee, he serves on the Agriculture and Natural Resources, Judiciary, Legislative Oversight, Rules, and Transportation Committees.
Senator Campsen has been a leading opponent of drilling in the Atlantic since it was proposed in 2015.