Beaufort city leaders pleased after offshore drilling ban clears House

Beaufort city leaders pleased after offshore drilling ban clears House

BEAUFORT COUNTY, Sc. (WTOC) - The offshore drilling ban Beaufort city leaders pushed for has now cleared the U.S. House and is moving on to the Senate.

After five years of campaigns for a ban on seismic testing, the House has passed an amendment to the budget that would do just that. We caught up with city officials to ask what this means for the community.

“What was seen as a local issue in a community trying to protect its natural resources has really become a national issue,” said Mayor Billy Keyserling, Mayor of Beaufort.

The City of Beaufort is seeing results after the five-year grassroots effort to stop seismic testing in their region. Mayor Keyserling says they’re happy to prove skeptics wrong.

“For those who don’t believe that grassroots work, this is a prime example," he said.

Longtime activist and Mayor Pro Tem Michael McFee says it’s good to know their efforts supporting the ban are paying off.

“It’s really gratifying, and it shows that when you start with grassroots and a small town and you bring it forward, that’s really when you start getting some energy behind it,” McFee said.

The amendment, which would ban funding for seismic testing until 2029, passed in the U.S. House after being introduced earlier this year by representative Joe Cunningham. Mayor Keyserling says the next step could be its biggest hurdle.

"It’s not over. It hasn’t passed the Senate yet. The Senate is a different institution. "

Mayor Keyserling says it is important to the community to keep their marine life safe. Even though the bill still needs to pass in the Senate, he says this much movement shows how hard the city has worked.

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