In late March, Rep. Joe Cunningham, D-S.C., introduced the Coastal and Marine Economies Protection Act, bipartisan legislation that would permanently ban oil and gas leasing off the coasts of the Pacific and Atlantic.
The bill would amend the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act to prohibit the secretary of the Interior from including in any leasing program certain planning areas.
“I’ve been clear from the very beginning that our beaches, businesses, and way of life should not be for sale. South Carolinians want nothing to do with offshore drilling and the devastating threat it poses to our vibrant natural resources,” Cunningham said in a press release. “I am proud to have the support of a bipartisan group of lawmakers, advocates, and organizations up and down South Carolina and across both the Atlantic and Pacific coastlines. It’s an honor to have the opportunity to lead this bipartisan bill across the finish line to ban offshore drilling off our coast once and for all.”
“The administration is trying to further oil and gas interests at an alarming rate, including major expansions of offshore drilling in the Pacific and Atlantic oceans. This is nothing more than a hand-out to the oil and gas industries and runs counter to health, safety, and environmental safeguards we know must be in place to protect our coastlines. These actions also run counter to the will of the citizens in these coastal communities. I am proud to join with my colleagues in making it perfectly clear to this Administration – there will be no new drilling off our coasts,” Rep. Alan Lowenthal, D-Calif., said in a prepared statement.
"From Congress to the governor's mansion to city council chambers, bipartisan leaders across South Carolina have said time and time again they oppose drilling off our coast. Now Congressman Cunningham is leading the charge in Congress to ensure this threat never comes to be," said John Tynan, executive director of Conservation Voters of South Carolina. "Voters in the Palmetto State have told their elected leaders to prevent drilling off our coast, and we're proud to stand beside Congressman Cunningham as he leads the way in the fight to protect our coastline, tourism economy, and quality of life.”