2 SC Dem gov candidates oppose offshore oil rigs

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) - Two Democrats vying to be South Carolina's governor oppose drilling for oil off South Carolina's coast, but they advocate offshore exploration of natural gas. A third Democrat has sponsored legislation to expedite state permits for drilling for both oil and gas.

State schools Superintendent Jim Rex and state Sen. Vincent Sheheen doubt there's enough oil off the state's coastline to be commercially feasible. Rex says even if there were, the risk to beaches would not be worth it.

State Sen. Robert Ford of Charleston has introduced legislation directing South Carolina's environmental agency to speed up applications for offshore drilling for oil and gas after federal restrictions are removed. He says the spill in the Gulf of Mexico shouldn't hinder offshore exploration.

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