Date ArticleType
10/30/2015 Other
Energy group urges Myrtle Beach chamber not to write off offshore drilling


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Spokespeople for oil industry trade groups say 35,000 jobs and $15 billion in investments could come to South Carolina by the year 2035 from offshore drilling for oil and natural gas.

At a briefing for Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce leaders Thursday, they said environmental activists use lies and scare tactics to turn the public away from offshore drilling, while the industry deals in facts.

"You really need to bring in the people who have done this before, all around the world and who understand what the process is, and have a conversation about what the real risk levels are and how minimal they are and the safety advances the industry has made and then what the economic benefits can be if we move forward with it," said Michael Whatley of the Consumer Energy Alliance.

Right now, the industry wants federal approval for seismic mapping of the ocean floor, which spokespeople say can be done with no harm to marine life.

"There's never been one occurrence documented that a marine mammal or marine animal has been injured or killed as a result of sound being generated from seismic surveys," said Gail Adams-Jackson, spokesperson for the International Association of Geophysical Contractors.

The Myrtle Beach Chamber supports seismic testing to determine what's out there, and has taken a stance in favor of drilling for natural gas.

But chamber leaders say when it comes to offshore oil, and its potential for damaging spills on local beaches, they still have concerns.

"As far as taking a position or changing a stance, don't know what will come today, other than providing more accurate information to local business leaders allows them to make informed decisions," said chamber president Brad Dean.