Offshore oil drilling worth extra $1.6 billion to South Carolina, industry says

On the heels of a political setback in the November election and public sentiment rekindled against offshore drilling, an oil industry group released a report saying the work could bring South Carolina $1.6 billion in tax revenue alone.

That money would be on top of $2.2 billion in spending here from the work itself, according to the American Petroleum Institute report released Friday. The figures would be over a 20-year period.

Drilling opponents quickly jumped on the report, calling it misleading and desperate.

Congressman-elect Joe Cunningham, who won the 1st District seat that represents coastal communities by campaigning against opening the offshore to drilling, said voters sent a clear message that the state’s beaches are not for sale.

“Big oil will tell us that offshore drilling will result in sunshine and rainbows,” Cunningham said. “But the people of the Lowcountry are smart and understand the risk isn’t worth the reward. Our beaches and tourism economy are much too important to risk even one oil spill. As long as I’m in Congress it will not happen.”

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