IOP, Seabrook Island vote to join possible offshore drilling lawsuit

ISLE OF PALMS, SC (WCSC) - The Isle of Palms City Council voted Tuesday night to join a lawsuit against the federal government to prevent seismic testing and oil drilling in waters off the coast of South Carolina.

IOP's vote came the same day Seabrook Island's town council voted unanimously 5-0 to join the suit.

The S.C. Environmental Law Project is filing the lawsuit to challenge seismic testing and oil drilling in waters off the coast of South Carolina.

Coastal communities across the state have discussed joining the lawsuit for several weeks now.

"I think we as a coastal community need to stand up and say, 'Hey, do not mess up our oceans,'" Isle of Palms Mayor Jimmy Carroll said. "We need to protect our oceans, we need to protect our environment, and Isle of Palms is all about that."

Mayors from Charleston, Isle of Palms, Edisto Island and Sullivan's Island held a press conference in April opposing an executive order from Trump that could bring offshore oil drilling to South Carolina's coast.

The proposed offshore drilling and seismic testing still have to get a lot of federal approval before actually happening, meaning the lawsuit hasn't been filed yet.

But one of the leaders of the group authoring the lawsuit is optimistic about the support the potential litigation has already received.

"These municipalities are standing up for their citizens," Executive Director of S.C. Environmental Law Project Amy Armstrong said. "This is not a partisan issue. This is about where we live, the South Carolina that we all love and care about and want to protect."

On Wednesday, Folly Beach leaders will discuss whether they want to join.

The lawsuit hasn't been officially filed and only will be if the offshore drilling project gets approval at the federal level.

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