Election 2020 Pence South Carolina

South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster looks on during a media briefing on coronavirus response with Vice President Mike Pence on Tuesday, July 21, 2020, in Columbia, S.C. (AP Photo/Meg Kinnard)

COLUMBIA, SC (FOX Carolina) –  Both Governor Henry McMaster and Sen. Lindsey Graham released statements applauding President Trump for announcing his decision to halt the exploration of offshore drilling off South Carolina's coast.

President Trump announced the ban on new offshore drilling on the Atlantic coast on Tuesday during a visit to Florida.

McMaster said this of the announcement:

“South Carolina is blessed with the most beautiful and pristine beaches, sea islands, and marshes in the nation. Seismic testing and offshore drilling threatens their health and jeopardizes the future of our state’s $24 billion tourism industry. Today’s announcement is good news, but we must remain vigilant in the conservation and preservation of our coastline.”

McMaster has previously advocated against offshore drilling on behalf of South Carolina in a letter he penned to then U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke in 2018. Later that year, McMaster joined 9 other east coast governors in signing a letter to U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross and Secretary Zinke detailing their opposition to oil exploration off of the Atlantic Coast. The letter detailed the governor’s concerns regarding the detrimental environmental and economic impacts drilling would have on the state.

In the 2019 state budget, the governor also signed into law a proviso prohibiting state or local government funds from being used to plan, permit, or license any offshore oil and gas related activities.

Meanwhile, US Sen. Lindsey Graham had this to say:

“Great news for South Carolina.  I am very pleased President Trump listened to the desires of South Carolina and included our state in the extension of the current moratorium on offshore drilling.

“This issue has been a long time coming and I have worked extensively with President Trump about this issue as it relates to South Carolina. 

“When I first learned that there would be an extension of the ban on drilling off the Florida coast, I contacted South Carolina officials to gauge their interest.  After receiving positive feedback from Governor McMaster and state leaders, I led an effort to ensure President Trump included South Carolina in the announcement.

“The decision by President Trump to include South Carolina meets the desires of our coastal communities and state’s leadership.  I very much appreciate President Trump for listening to our state and delivering for our people.”

Graham said he flew with President Trump on Air Force One to Jupiter, Florida where the announcement was made.  The senator said he has spoken extensively with President Trump about the issue and the impact it would have on South Carolina and the state's coastal communities. 

RELATED - Pres. Trump expands ban on new offshore drilling sites in Atlantic

Copyright 2020 FOX Carolina (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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