In South Carolina, the announcement fueled a debate that’s been growing for years, with advocates saying tapping the sea floor could help move the state into a new revenue stream, while opponents say the $18 billion tourism industry could be devastated if even a single environmental catastrophe occurs.
“Opening the South Atlantic Coast to oil and gas drilling will do nothing to address climate change, provide only about six months worth of oil, and put at risk multibillion dollar tourism and fisheries industries,” said Derb Carter, director of the Carolinas office of the Southern Environmental Law Center.
Off South Carolina, most experts say natural gas — not oil — would be the most likely harvest, though accounts differ on whether it would be financially viable. The closest any platforms would be to shore is around 60 miles, some projections indicate.
[State Senator Paul] Campbell said that based on today’s technology, the “likelihood of having an accident is almost zero.”