South Carolina citizens want family-sustaining jobs, and they want lower energy costs.
And they can have both.
To reach these two necessities, we must develop our energy resources, particularly off-shore drilling for oil and natural gas.
By opening portions of South Carolina’s outer continental shelf, in the ocean miles away from the coast, we will unlock an important future asset for our state and its citizens.
Some Say No
Some anti-progress people say no. They try to bind the energy development idea with potential environmental problems.
First, every thinking person is an environmentalist. I assure you that I want clean air, safe water, and pristine land available for my one-year-old’s future. Companies that conduct this energy-extraction work rely on safe drilling practices and abide by rigorous procedures and processes to draw needed energy from the earth. Their livelihoods depend on doing each job safely, and they do it everyday.
As an added incentive, those companies know that federal and state laws contain harsh penalties that hold them accountable for cleanup in the unlikely event of an environmental issue. The law also has teeth to send those responsible to jail if they are behind an environmental insult.
Those facts, coupled with the performance of these companies, show that our environment, ocean life, and people will be safe. Now, we need to say yes and start the work.
Jobs, Jobs, Jobs
If we allow safe off-shore drilling, we unlock the potential to give good jobs to the one in 10 South Carolinians currently out of work. A recent study shows that safe energy exploration will create more than 2,250 new jobs in South Carolina and boost our economy by $413 million each year.
Those eye-popping numbers mean we can shore-up our state’s budget gaps while creating additional money for education and health care. An added benefit is that the new revenue could bring job-creating tax cuts, allowing for small businesses and our citizens to keep more of their pay checks.
The other tangible benefit is that we would be able to tap into a vast reservoir of energy that lies beneath the ocean. Experts estimate that more than 420 trillion cubic feet of natural gas and 86 billion barrels of oil reside in the nation’s outer continental shelf. What a boon it would be for our state and for the nation to release these energy sources.
Tapping into this energy would go a long way toward bringing stable gas and oil prices to our country. There is no question that our energy resource drives so much of our economy, improves our quality of life, and brings us prosperity. And we cannot forget that creating more energy resources means less dependency on foreign oil.
Time To Act
How do we get there?
In Washington, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar is putting together a plan that will determine where domestic energy exploration and production may and may not occur during the next five years. I have written him a letter explaining that we need that opportunity in South Carolina. I encourage you to write him as well; the more voices he hears, the better.
In short, to reach our goals, we need leaders who will address the off-shore drilling issues and fight for South Carolina citizens. We must create our own energy future, not just through off-shore drilling, but investing in alternative energy work at the Savannah River Site. We should not neglect any energy resources that show potential.
I support responsible off-shore drilling, finding new alternative energy sources, and giving our citizens family-sustaining jobs, energy resources, and the opportunity for a better life. It’s an idea that brings with it great benefits for South Carolina.
It is time to say yes to our energy future.