House of Rep. passes bill that would ban seismic testing on our coasts

House of Rep. passes bill that would ban seismic testing on our coasts

BEAUFORT COUNTY, S.C. (WTOC) - The House of Representatives passed a resolution Wednesday that would ban seismic testing on our coasts.

This is something that residents of Beaufort have been working towards for years.

The beautiful views are exactly what residents in Beaufort love so much about the Lowcountry. They are also what Rep. Joe Cunningham is hoping to protect with his bill.

“I’m gratified that something that started in Beaufort five years ago with a simple resolution opposing seismic testing and generally, swept the coast, not only in South Carolina but in Florida to Delaware," said Beaufort Mayor, Billy Keyserling.

Mayor Keyserling says he could not be more grateful for HR 1941 and all the work Cunningham has put into it - and it does exactly what the city wants.

“HR 1941 basically is going to, would prohibit - will prohibit - any new leases for oil and gas drilling off the coast of the Atlantic and Pacific coast.”

The bill would not impact existing leases; it just prevents new leases from being formed.

The mayor says this is a no-brainer, and that is clear since the freshman Rep. Cunningham was able to get bipartisan support.

“It’s a compromise position and it’s a bipartisan position, which congressman Cunningham has managed to bring people together.”

That’s exactly what Rep. Cunningham took to Twitter to talk about Wednesday morning.

“I’m here to tell you that today, the House will be voting on and passing, my bipartisan piece of legislation to ban offshore drilling," Cunningham said.

Politicians aren’t the only ones who are excited. Residents say offshore drilling and seismic testing hurts their community.

“It destroys the animals. It destroys businesses," said Mell, a resident of Beaufort.

That’s exactly why Mell supports Cunningham’s bill. He says there are certain things you just shouldn’t do to the Lowcountry’s coast.

“Adding offshore drilling? To me, it’s a no no,” he said.

This is not the last stop for this bill, but we will be sure to keep you updated as it moves through the federal government until it reaches us here locally.

Copyright 2019 WTOC. All rights reserved.