It puts the U.S. on the track toward greater energy independence.

The Trump administration recently announced a new five-year offshore energy leasing plan that would begin the process of allowing exploration off the coast of South Carolina, well beyond the visible horizon.

This is great news because it puts the U.S. on the track toward greater energy independence, high-paying jobs, lower energy prices and substantial economic growth.

Let’s face it — everyone relies on affordable energy, and the proposed plan would put this well within our reach. The new plan will greatly help the U.S. meet its overall energy needs well into the future while strengthening our national security, as it reduces the potential for oil embargos and wars to protect overseas interests.

Opponents won’t tell you that safety is a top priority for the U.S. natural gas and oil industry, which works constantly to improve safety in the workplace through ongoing research, standards development, training and information sharing. The truth is that best practices are constantly being improved to help protect workers, the environment and marine life.

Those in opposition to offshore exploration will use scare tactics that seismic work harms marine mammals, even though there has yet to be any scientific evidence to support this in the nearly 50 years of seismic exploration all over the globe.

Opponents also won’t tell you that energy production beyond the visible horizon will go unnoticed, except for the robust onshore economic activity. In order to even know offshore production was taking place, you would need to get in a boat and go offshore for miles. If you do, make sure to take a fishing rod with you as the production platforms are tremendous game-fish attractors.

The oil and gas industry has been under intense scrutiny in recent years, and the industry has responded with an unwavering commitment to safety and the environment. More than 100 exploration and production industry standards were created or strengthened, including standards for safety and environmental management, well design, blowout prevention and spill response.

Opening up U.S. waters for energy exploration will only be a positive thing — not only for our coastal communities that will greatly benefit from bustling main streets but also for families and businesses that will experience reduced energy costs.

As a longtime advocate for offshore energy exploration, I know this proposal could move the U.S. to the forefront of global energy security and closer to achieving the goal of energy independence.

The Trump administration’s plan to open up waters off our South Carolina coast is the first step in a very long process toward offshore energy development in the Palmetto State. We should welcome this plan as a move in the right direction to boost our local economies, strengthen energy independence, lower energy prices and create high-paying job opportunities for all South Carolinians.

I have submitted my comments to the Department of the Interior in support of the amazing opportunity that is before us. It’s time to harness our own resources and move toward greater energy security for generations to come.


Jeff Duncan represents South Carolina’s 3rd Congressional District.