Offshore Drilling Ban

As a life-long outdoorsman, surfer and resident of coastal South Carolina, Senator Campsen was an early and influential opponent of oil drilling and seismic testing off South Carolina’s coast.

Senator Campsen built several boats in the Gulf of Mexico and delivered them to Charleston. In the process he experienced first-hand the massive coastal industrialization necessary to support offshore drilling. The refineries, tank yards, construction yards and other shore-based infrastructure necessary to support offshore drilling are wholly incompatible with South Carolina’s existing coastal land uses. Decades ago South Carolina decided to protect entire coastal ecosystems like the ACE Basin and Santee Delta, develop world class resorts and beach communities, preserve our rich cultural and historical heritage, and support a vibrant tourism industry. Coastal industrialization associated with offshore drilling is incompatible with these existing land uses.

Learn more in Campsen’s 2015 Op-Ed: The Onshore Problems of Offshore Drilling.

Senator Campsen authored and passed into law a proviso in the 2019-20 budget that prohibits the licensing and permitting offshore oil related infrastructure in South Carolina. Senator Campsen’s bi-partisan proviso had 36 out of the 46 Senate members sign on as co-sponsors, and strong support from Governor McMaster and Attorney General Wilson. It passed the Senate by a resounding vote of 40 to 4.

In July 2019, Senator Campsen hand-delivered a letter to Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt in DC, requesting South Carolina’s offshore waters be exempted from offshore drilling.

Read the official letter here