The Post & Courier | Stephen Gilchrist | June 20, 2018

South Carolina, like every other state, depends on oil and natural gas to fuel our local economies and power our daily lives. We rely on accessible, affordable energy for everything from cooking dinner to driving to work to heating our homes.

As we plan for the future, we must realize the decisions we make about our energy resources today lay the foundation for what kind of state we will call home tomorrow.

I am pleased to be leading the effort “Explore Offshore SC” we announced earlier this month — a coalition of community organizations, associations, businesses and local leaders who support increased access to our U.S. offshore resources. Our focus is to secure reliable domestic energy and stronger national security for decades to come — made possible, in part, through responsible and safe offshore exploration and development.

Our nation’s future energy needs will require the discovery of and accessibility to new resources from right here at home. Offshore exploration represents a vast, untapped source of potential energy. Unfortunately, 94 percent of America’s offshore acreage is off limits to oil and natural gas development – current policies won’t even allow for the study of those areas.

However, this past January, U.S. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke took a major step toward ending this moratorium by announcing a new National Offshore Leasing Program to explore and develop the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS).

From the last government estimates — which are nearly three decades old — the OCS could hold over 89 billion barrels of oil and 327 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. I think all sides should be able to agree that it’s certainly time we take a fresh look at our reserves using state of the art technology so we can at least know what it is we’re talking about

Read the full op-ed here.

Stephen Gilchrist is the chairman of Explore Offshore SC and also serves as the Chairman of the S.C. African American Chamber of Commerce.

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