Lawmakers still in favor of offshore drilling

Conservation Voters of South Carolina feel that there are several things Americans can do to reduce our dependency on foreign oil.

As more than 200,000 gallon of oil per day pour into the Gulf, environmentalist Ann Timberlake is surprised by where the state TMs republican gubernatorial candidates stand in the drill, baby, drill debate.

You know this is about how much they care about South Carolina and our coast, said Timberlake of Conservation Voters of South Carolina.

Timberlake thinks the disaster is an opportunity for politicians to commit to designing an energy policy.

I think all of us have got to be judicious, and we have got to look at the mistakes that were made and try to learn from those, so they don TMt happen again, said Lieutenant Governor Andre Bauer.

The four GOP gubernatorial candidates share a similar vision for offshore energy production, which includes drilling for both oil and natural gas.

Attorney General Henry McMaster released this statement Thursday: "We can end our dependence on foreign oil, and also create thousands of jobs and generate revenue in South Carolina, by exploring alternative energy sources and drilling for oil and natural gas off South Carolina's coast. But we must make certain that exploration is done safely to protect our coastal environment and tourism industry."

According to experts, offshore drilling could create some 2,200 jobs.

We can do what we need to do with the natural gas reserves off the coast of South Carolina and help the economy and be environmentally-friendly at the same time, said U.S. Representative Gresham Barrett.

Through Barrett TMs Palmetto Energy Project, he predicts that $250 million could be generated annually by tapping the state TMs natural gas reserves.

State Representative Nikki Haley explained that she too, supports offshore drilling at a debate earlier this week.

We as a state need to do everything we can to make our country independent, said Haley.

If lawmakers decided to open the Carolina coast to offshore drilling, experts point out that it could take nearly a decade before the equipment would hit the ocean floor.