Southern Environmental Law Center

South Carolina joins offshore drilling lawsuit

COLUMBIA, S.C. — South Carolina will join a federal lawsuit opposing the Trump administration’s plans to conduct offshore drilling tests, becoming the latest coastal state to take legal action against the proposal.

On Monday, Attorney General Alan Wilson told The Associated Press that he has petitioned to join a lawsuit already filed by 16 South Carolina cities and towns opposing the issuance of permits for the use of seismic air guns, a move that’s also received the support of the state’s governor, Henry McMaster.

Environmental groups are challenging the permits for the testing that comes as a precursor to drilling itself, claiming the National Marine Fisheries Service violated the Marine Mammal Protection Act, the Endangered Species Act and the National Environmental Policy Act in issuing the permits.

“Once again the federal government seeks to intrude upon the sovereignty of the state of South Carolina,” Wilson said. “We are bringing suit to protect the State’s economy and the rule of law.”

Last month, New Jersey joined other East Coast states including Connecticut, Maryland, Delaware, Maine, Massachusetts, New York, North Carolina and Virginia in their own lawsuit against sound testing.

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