By Reagan Kelley for The Island Connection
Senate Bill 870 received key approval from a five-member Senate subcommittee Jan. 15. The vote four to one vote signifies the first approval of the Senate to permanently prohibit infrastructure associated with offshore drilling off the coast of South Carolina.
The bill, pre-filed by Sen. Chip Campsen, a Republican who represents Charleston, Beaufort and Colleton counties, prohibits the issuance of state and local permits for infrastructure and other activities related to offshore drilling.
A maritime industry executive, Campsen said, “I appreciate the subcommittee’s swift and deliberate vote in first approval of S.870. Offshore drilling is incompatible with our beautiful, historic coast.”
Thirty-one of 46 senators joined Campsen as co-sponsors of his bill. Last year, Campsen successfully authored and passed the only state or federal law protecting South Carolina’s coast from offshore drilling as a proviso in the 20192020 state budget. Senate Bill 870 would make the ban permanent.
Elected to the South Carolina Senate in 2004, Campsen represents approximately half of South Carolina’s coast. In addition to serving as the chairman of the Senate Fish, Game and Forestry Committee, he is on the Agriculture and Natural Resources, Judiciary, Legislative Oversight, Rules and Transportation Committees.
Campsen has been a leading opponent of drilling in the Atlantic since it was proposed in 2015.