SC coastal communities celebrate rejection of offshore drilling - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

SC coastal communities celebrate rejection of offshore drilling proposal

(Source: WTOC) (Source: WTOC)

Coastal municipalities in the Lowcountry are celebrating after the Obama administration announced it’s rejected a plan to explore offshore drilling along the southeast coast.

Beaufort, Port Royal, Hilton Head and Bluffton have all been fighting for two years to keep drilling and seismic testing away from the coast.

Initially, the government was going to auction off the drilling rights off of the coast of South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, North Carolina and Virginia.

Experts estimate that it would have created 1.4 million jobs and $95 billion in gross domestic products. But cities and towns across the southeast vocally opposed the drilling, saying it could damage the environment many of those communities economically rely on.

“We started a movement right here in the Beaufort County that went all the way up the coast and every coastal city who passed a resolution with their city councils. We met with White House officials, and we said you have to understand that we’re talking about; tens of thousands of people along the coast who are worried about what they’re going to leave to the next generation. Is it really worth it? Is there enough oil out there to make sense," said Billy Keyserling, Beaufort Mayor. 

Keyserling says they not only protected the environment, but the tourism industry as well, which Beaufort and many other coastal cities rely on. 

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