On Thursday, the US government led by president trump announced a move that would significantly expand the offshore drilling all the way from the Arctic and the Atlantic Oceans. This offshore drilling would include off the South Carolina coast. The announcement came as part of the plans for five years for the exploration of gas and oil. The newly opened East coast regions that span from Maine to Georgia where drilling has been outlawed or blocked for years.
An immediate furor is expected to be created across South Carolina where many coastal communities had opposed drilling. However, US legislators say that numerous opportunities would accrue from off-shore drilling in the United States with many economic advantages to the residents near the oil rigs. The announcement was made by Ryan Zinke, the Secretary for the interior which coincided with the launch that would see the opening of 90% of offshore waters in the US. However, the announcement excluded some waters off the shore of Alaska. The announcement comes just over a year after offshore drilling in the Atlantic Ocean had been closed by the Obama administration. The closure was motivated by a massive public outcry by American citizens who lived off the coasts or conducted their businesses there.
Such opposition has already been rallied by environmental conservation groups all across the United States. The leasing which pending for review including hearings that would consider public opinion is set to span for five years from 2019 all the way to 2024. Zinke told reporters that off-shore drilling was the future of energy in the United States and that the revenue generated from such drilling would be re-invested in lands belonging to the public for the benefit of the ordinary American citizen. The interior secretary continued to say that the five-year off-shore drilling plan had the most significant amount in lease sales in US history.
The move by the federal government will ultimately face challenges in litigations by environmental conservation groups and citizens who feel aggrieved. Sierra Weaver who is a senior lawyer with the Southern Environmental Law Center said that off-shore drilling threatens all the aspects that make South Carolina a particular place and also threatens the economy and the local communities that reside there. Weaver added that southern communities who live along the coast of the Atlantic Ocean fought against an attempt to bring off-shore drilling into their neighborhoods successfully in 2016 and that their will and resilience would help them do it again.