North Myrtle Beach City Council – with no discussion – voted unanimously Monday in support of a resolution that opposes offshore drilling and oil exploration along the South Carolina coast.
The resolution was included in the consent agenda, which is for items that all council members agree upon. Council voted 6-0 in favor of the resolution. Mayor Marilyn Hatley was not at the meeting.
At-large Councilman Bob Cavanaugh made a motion requesting the resolution regarding offshore drilling be voted on separately, but he did not receive a second and the motion died.
About 20 area residents opposed to offshore drilling, many wearing Oceana shirts and carrying signs, attended the meeting in hopes of voicing their concerns to City Council. Oceana is an environmental group opposed to offshore drilling.
“It was more last week in Myrtle Beach, but it had the same outcome, so that’s good,” Rosemary Wolfe said.
Earlier this month, Atlantic Beach Town Council approved a similar resolution and Myrtle Beach City Council voted to oppose drilling last week. North Myrtle Beach becomes the 19th government body in South Carolina to do so.
In April, Hatley praised the mayors and administrators at a Coastal Alliance meeting for not rushing to oppose seismic testing before a deadline to provide input to the federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management. The Coastal Alliance is a group that represents Horry County and cities along the Grand Strand.
BOEM accepted comments on what should be included in environmental studies to decide whether areas in the Atlantic are opened to oil and gas development later this decade.
“We applaud the North Myrtle Beach City Council for taking a stand against big oil and saying no to seismic airgun blasting and offshore drilling," said Samantha Siegel, campaign organizer at Oceana.
Gov. Nikki Haley supports offshore drilling and is a member of the Outer Continental Shelf Governors Coalition, which has a mission statement that says it works to “influence a sensible path forward for the development of America’s offshore energy resources.”
Drilling proponents say it can help reduce dependence on foreign energy and create jobs and revenue.
Opponents of offshore drilling worry that spills could damage fisheries and the important coastal tourism industry. Supporters say drilling can be done safely and will mean jobs and new revenues.