Fellow Seekers After Truth
We believe that, subliminally at least, everyone featured on this page is in the process of transitioning from a pro-drilling to a no-drilling position as regards risking the coastline of the Atlantic states. Not all are aware yet of the compelling anti-drilling arguments or the building public momentum. These, we believe, will help them appreciate our desire to have the people most affected by the drilling participate in the decision-making process.
But we don't question their drive or their commitment to build a stronger state - in fact we share it. Our concern is that the risk/reward ratio of offshore drilling may not justify the potential problems that come with it. Our tourism is a burgeoning industry that benefits all parts of the state. We think we can show that everyone's time and effort are better spent enhancing this positive aspect of South Carolina's economy.
BARACK OBAMA: Like politicians everywhere, presidents need money to improve the lives of those who elected them and address the concerns of those who didn't. Having discovered that oil is the second greatest source of government revenue, President Obama faced a conflict between his environmentalist nature and his mandate to find cash to keep his country moving forward. After agonizing for months, he decided to resume offshore drilling. Ironically, that put him in the position of potentially causing harm to the small South Carolina community - Georgetown - that is his wife's ancestral home. Her thoughts on drilling in the Atlantic have not been recorded.
Somehow President Obama has determined that the careless practices that led to the Gulf of Mexico tragedy won't recur off our shores. Seeing that far into the future is so difficult that, to this date, such attempts have never been supported by subsequent events.
NIKKI HALEY: South Carolina's governor has made her goals difficult to attain by speaking in uncompromising terms about taxes, the one source of revenue a political entity can count on. Of late, she has begun to acknowledge that her state faces significant problems in areas - road maintenance is the most obvious - in which she holds decision-making responsibility. While we applaud her desire to put South Carolina on a more solid financial footing, Governor Haley's projections for jobs and state revenue from oil are largely unsupportable and far in the future. Nonetheless, she remains confident that undertaking risky offshore drilling is justified.
While inland residents show some support for her position, many on the coast do not. Adding required land-based infrastructure to the mix offers little prospect of sustaining tourism - an important source of state revenues - at current levels. "During her two gubernatorial campaigns, Haley received 88 contributions from the oil and gas industry worth a combined $118,331, according to data compiled by the Montana-based National Institute on Money in State Politics. The governor raised about $12.4 million over two campaigns." MORE
TOM RICE: Congressman Rice's oft-repeated concern about drilling is that we must know the amount of oil and gas that lie off shore to make an intelligent decision about drilling. We would urge him to read Congressman Sanford's letter on this very topic. That letter focuses on this and other aspects of the drilling proposal that appear not to justify the inherent risk.
During his research Congressman Sanford discovered that the results of seismic testing will not be released outside the Department of Interior. Not to congressmen and not to the governors supporting drilling.
But Congressman Rice's concern is unquestionably justified. Without this knowledge, state officials are in no position to weigh the risk/reward aspects of the federal drilling proposal. Making important decisions without access to the underlying facts and data is indeed risky business. The reality that this data is inaccessible even to persons central to the debate should inform the decision-making process.
"But we can only pursue offshore oil drilling if we have assurances that a disaster like the BP oil spill will not happen again," Obama said.
LINDSEY GRAHAM — who in the past opposed offshore oil drilling — now advocates drilling in order to achieve energy independence for America. One could reasonably counter that independence from competition will give the national petroleum industry the ability to set unreasonably high prices and mean the end of cheap gasoline. He mentioned that looking for oil and gas is worth a try to gain energy independence from hostile nations. Yet Saudi Arabia, which is the largest provider of foreign oil to the U.S., does not fall into that category. How do we keep the Saudis in America's geopolitical camp if we refuse to purchase their product? We would urge him to consider the fact that when world oil prices exceed those of the U.S., in-country producers will be in the forefront urging selling our oil overseas. He said his plan would be sensitive to the environment, although Senator Graham acknowledged that drilling is not without risks.
Senator Graham has intoduced a revenue sharing bill that would give 37.5 percent of the leasing revenues of rigs drilling off their shores to the states involved. President Obama has opposed that suggestion, and the continuing rancor between the president and our state does little to foster an early resolution of the issue.