South Carolina is in need of good jobs, reliable energy, and clean air and water. These are some of the basic cornerstones that support our high quality of life here in the Lowcountry. Offshore energy production brings us unique threats and opportunities to that can serve to harm us or help us in these areas.
While offshore drilling has been touted as a job-creating scheme for South Carolina, its intrinsic risk must be examined. There has never before been commercial offshore drilling off the East Coast. Opening our coast to drilling would jeopardize our tourism and fishing industries — and 86,000 South Carolinians’ jobs. All it takes is one accident for the tourism and seafood markets to crash, as we so tragically witnessed in the Gulf in 2010.
The good news is we do have the opportunity to create good jobs, reliable energy, and preserve clean air and water, with offshore wind energy. South Carolina has the second greatest offshore wind resource on the East Coast and stands to gain thousands of jobs in the industry if we were to seriously pursue it. Wind energy never runs out, and it doesn’t create pollution.
I want to invite you to come help fellow residents of the Grand Strand make the point that we want an energy future that is forward-looking and innovative, not looking backward to the past. Come to Holly Avenue in Garden City Beach this Saturday, May 18, at 11:45 a.m. for Hands Across the Sand, where we will join hands to say “no” to offshore drilling and “yes” to clean energy. Find out more at www.handsacrossthesand.org.
The writer is part of Surfrider Grand Strand.