Today, South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson joined the lawsuit against the Trump administration seeking to block seismic testing for oil and gas along the Atlantic seaboard.
Backed by South Carolina’s Republican governor, Henry McMaster, Wilson became the first Republican attorney general to join the lawsuit, which includes nine Democrat attorneys general and 16 South Carolina cities among the plaintiffs. Wilson believes that the seismic testing proposed by the Trump administration will hurt the environment, as well as South Carolina’s tourism industry, according to the News Observer.
“We are bringing suit to protect the State’s economy and the rule of law,” Wilson said on the South Carolina State Attorney General’s Twitter feed.
“Although a number of coastal municipalities are parties to this suit, the Attorney General represents the interests of the entire state, including its agencies that could be affected by the seismic surveying and the general public,” Wilson said in a statement. “No single plaintiff or the present group of plaintiffs represents all of those interests.”
New study documents how whales can't hear each other over extremely loud noises from seismic airgun testing in oil and gas exploration https://t.co/6qhUUYIozH My story on how manmade noise affects life in the ocean https://t.co/g5ODIlKepY— Peter????Brannen (@PeterBrannen1) January 6, 2019
“We understand the need to have a long-term, reliable energy supply,” Wilson said. “While oil and gas exploration could bring in billions of dollars, doing it without adequate study and precautions could end up costing billions of dollars and cause irreversible damage to our economy and coast.”
McMaster, who had previously declared that he was not ready to sue the Trump administration, reversed course and said that he stands by Wilson’s action. McMaster had previously held out hope for securing an exemption for South Carolina, according to the Post and Courier.
“Governor McMaster and Attorney General Wilson have communicated and collaborated throughout this process, and the governor supports the attorney general’s decision to take any and all actions necessary to ensure that we will never see any seismic testing or drilling off of South Carolina’s coast,” McMaster spokesman Brian Symmes said Monday.
As reported by the Inquisitr, the Trump administration is seeking to roll back regulations passed during the Obama administration that severely limited offshore drilling on the outer continental shelf. Among the Trump administration’s proposals is to allow the use of seismic air guns for oil and gas exploration along the Atlantic coast, a move that environmentalists and economists alike have criticized.
The move also signals further evidence of a growing rift between President Trump and his political allies. Both Wilson and McMaster have been Trump supporters up until now.
“What is particularly heartening is that so many of our elected leaders have put aside their political differences to stand up for South Carolina’s coastal communities and businesses,” said Laura Cantral, director of the Coastal Conservation League.