MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WBTW) – President Joe Biden took several measures Wednesday to fight climate change, including a freeze on new oil and natural gas permits for all offshore drilling.
“We’ve already waited too long to deal with this climate crisis,” President Biden said. “We can’t wait any longer.”
President Biden says climate change is making flooding events happen too often across the U.S., especially in coastal areas like the Carolinas.
“More intense and powerful hurricanes and tropical storms pummel states across the Gulf Coast and along the East coast,” said President Biden.
That’s why the President signed several executive orders to fight climate change Wednesday, including a freeze on new oil and natural gas leases on federal lands and offshore waters. Currently approved leases will be allowed to continue, with the President adding that he will not ban fracking.
The orders also include a “rigorous review” of existing fossil leasing and permitting practices, as well as setting a goal to conserve 30% of federal land and waters by 2030 and doubling renewable energy production from offshore wind, also by 2030.
“We’re going to start to properly manage lands and waterways in ways that allow us to protect [and] preserve the full value that they provide for us for future generations,” President Biden said.
Rep. Tom Rice, R-South Carolina, opposes drilling off South Carolina’s coast, but says President Biden’s order goes too far.
“I’ve cosponsored bills that would prevent drilling in the Atlantic,” said Rep. Rice. “I don’t want a nationwide moratorium on offshore drilling. The Gulf states don’t want a moratorium on offshore drilling.”
Rep. Rice says former President Trump’s offshore drilling moratorium already covers the Carolina coast. That moratorium originally covered South Carolina, Georgia and Florida, but it was later extended by the former administration to include North Carolina and Virginia’s coasts.
Rep. Rice wants the U.S. to only use domestic oil as renewable energy is developed.
“Certainly, there are places where we shouldn’t drill, very endangered areas and such, but in most of the federal areas where there’s low risk, I think that drilling should be allowed,” said Rep. Rice.
The Grand Strand group Stop Offshore Drilling in the Atlantic (SODA) supported when President Biden suspended new oil and gas leases for 60 days last week before Wednesday’s action, which took that step even further.