Briley Hughes

Fact Or Fiction?

August 14, 2015

Briley Hughes

Earlier this week, the Myrtle Beach City Council voted 6-1 in favor of a resolution opposing offshore energy exploration. The extreme environmental group Oceana and its supporters want you to believe that this settled the issue—that everyone in every costal city and county in South Carolina opposes offshore energy exploration. No questions asked.

Well, we decided to dig a little deeper. After studying all the resolutions passed in South Carolina, we weren’t too surprised to uncover the fact that they were (in the majority of cases word-for-word!) boilerplate language echoing Oceana’s standard talking points:

“Seismic Mapping harms animals.”
Zero evidence exists that seismic mapping harms animals. Dr. James Knapp of USC tells us that “not a single death has been attributed to marine seismic operations.” We’re definitely in favor of protecting wildlife, and also giving our economy a boost: the good of people and animals doesn’t have to be at odds. With offshore energy exploration, we can accomplish both.

“Offshore energy exploration will ruin SC’s tourism industry and the beautiful beachside view.”
A total of $12.2 billion in tourism was spent in our Palmetto State. Opponents of offshore energy exploration claim that oil equipment will scare away all the tourists and their money. That’s just not true. Energy platforms are required to be located 50 miles or more from the shore—that’s further than from Columbia to Sumter! (The naked eye can only see about 12 miles across the open water.) And if we begin exploring, the only difference you’ll notice is your bigger wallet.

“The threat of an oil spill is just too much risk.”
NO energy solution is without risks; however, the risk of an offshore oil spill is minimal. In addition to continuing improvements in technology, our expert analysis finds the likelihood of environmental damage unlikely and the benefits outweighing the costs by a ratio of 2:1 in the formal analysis. And in the high-profile incidents where spills have happened, nature has proved to be far more resilient than environmental activists would like you to believe

“Offshore energy exploration will only slightly benefit SC and its economy.”
Our answer: $2.7 billion in direct investment and over 46,000 jobs by 2035. And that is likely on the conservative end, since we won’t know the full extent of the resources out there until seismic mapping is completed. Maybe they just got their words mixed up…instead of “slightly,” we think they meant “significantly.” Happens to the best of us.

In conclusion…
A recent poll reveals that 71% of South Carolinians support offshore energy exploration. That’s no coincidence. A vast majority of South Carolinians understand that responsible energy development means lower prices for families, more manufacturing job creators, and a safer, more secure America.

And those are the facts.