Rep. Cunningham to introduce legislation that would ban offshore drilling for 10 years

Rep. Cunningham to introduce legislation that would ban offshore drilling for 10 years
Joe Cunningham announces the legislation Tuesday morning at Shem Creek Park.

MT. PLEASANT, SC (WCSC) - Joined by other Lowcountry lawmakers, mayors and environmental groups, Rep. Joe Cunningham announced Tuesday morning that he plans to introduce legislation that would stop offshore drilling and seismic testing for the next 10 years.

In a long string of tweets Tuesday morning, Cunningham detailed the issues he sees with offshore drilling and seismic testing.

“Let it be known that we, the people of the Lowcountry, strongly oppose offshore drilling and we strongly oppose seismic airgun blasting,” Cunningham said. “I am not here just to say ‘no’ to offshore drilling, but ‘hell no’ to offshore drilling.”

Former first district representative Mark Sanford had previously introduced a similar act that died in committee.

As a former ocean engineer, Cunningham made the environment and offshore drilling one the central issues of his run for congress during the 2018 election cycle.

He was also present downtown when numerous environmental groups announced they were filing a lawsuit against the administration of President Donald Trump to try and stop seismic testing. South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson announced Monday that the state was joining a number of other South Carolina cities and towns in a federal lawsuit opposing offshore drilling.

A report from the Southern Environmental Law Center released last October says offshore drilling would add a significant risk every time a hurricane or major storm hits. The report cites Hurricane Florence as an example which caused massive flooding along the South Carolina coast.

The report states a similar storm could cause an oil spill millions of gallons in size if oil rigs and platforms were given the green light in the Atlantic Ocean.

South Carolina’s Republican Gov. Henry McMaster, a Trump ally, has voiced his concerns about drilling to the administration and said Monday he backs the state’s legal action.

Copyright 2019 WCSC. All rights reserved. Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.