WASHINGTON – Today, Congressman Rice wrote to the Secretary of Commerce, Wilbur Ross, to again convey his opposition to seismic blast-testing off the South Carolina coast. Every coastal community in South Carolina is opposed to seismic testing off our coast. The administration should not ignore their objections.

“I am writing regarding the permitting of seismic blast-testing off the coast of South Carolina. As you consider applications, I urge you not to ignore South Carolina’s objections to seismic blast-testing and decisions of the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (SC DHEC). 

The objections of the people of South Carolina to seismic testing proposals should not be disregarded. Currently the United States has an abundance of recoverable oil and gas resources. The shale revolution of the past decade made the United States energy independent for the first time in generations. The national interest does not currently demand the risks associated with the development of energy resources off the coast of South Carolina.

Furthermore, South Carolina residents, businesses, community leaders, and local governments have considered the costs and benefits of offshore oil and gas exploration. SC DHEC collected over 1,700 comments from concerned citizens who overwhelmingly oppose offshore seismic blast-testing. Every coastal community in the state, and Governor Henry McMaster, are strongly opposed to seismic blast-testing. 

Over 28 million people visit South Carolina’s coast every year supporting the over $20 billion tourism industry in my state. This industry is vital to coastal communities in my district. It is irresponsible to put the livelihoods of residents in communities at risk by permitting seismic blast-testing. The adverse coastal effects of seismic blast-testing and the risks associated with it are considerable and the national benefits are negligible at this time. 

I urge you to listen to the voices of South Carolinians as you evaluate requests for permits to conduct seismic blast-testing. In this time of abundant American oil and gas production the risks associated with seismic blast-testing off the coast of South Carolina cannot be justified.”