Feds meet in N. Charleston to discuss offshore drilling

NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) - Federal regulators want to know if, and where, leases for drilling oil and natural gas should be issued along the mid- and south Atlantic coast.

A meeting to gather public comment on the issue is scheduled for Friday in North Charleston, 1 of a series of such meetings along the Atlantic coast.

The federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management wants to hear what people have to say about whether drilling should be permitted and in what areas.

Some South Carolinians have expressed concern that offshore drilling - and with it the potential for spills - could endanger South Carolina's beaches, which are the heart of the state's $15 billion tourism industry.

Another hearing is set next week in Wilmington, N.C.

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