President Barack Obama announced late last month the possibility of offshore drilling coming to the Carolina coasts and many are on opposite ends of the debate.
“I think it’s a bad idea I think there will be an accident it’s only a matter of time. It’s human nature; it’s not going to be safe,” said Jill Griffin.
Griffin visits Myrtle Beach from New Bern, North Carolina a couple times a year.
She says it is only a matter of time before beaches will be ruined.
But the need for energy in the country continues to grow.
“We have to solve this problem it’s a large problem and a complex one,” said Dr. Paul Gayes.
Gayes, is the Director of Marine System Science at Coastal Carolina University.
He says the potential resources are out there, but just how much and if it is worth drilling is unknown.
“The first question is really to determine how much is out there and how much are we really talking about if it’s even potentially viable to create an industry to recover something of some finite amount,” said Gayes.
However, state officials seem confident offshore drilling is worth the effort.
In 2012, Governor Nikki Haley was quoted by the Associated Press saying “offshore drilling is where we need to be”.
And local representatives agree.
“It would bring thousands of jobs to our region,” said State Representative Greg Duckworth.
Duckworth is for renewable energy.
As a North Myrtle Beach council member, he pushed for wind power off the coast, but he says turning our backs on oil and gas is not the answer.
“We can’t disregard the current technologies that are out there,” said Duckworth.
Duckworth says he is all in favor of digging for natural gases, but he is still uncertain about the possibility of drilling off the coast for oil.
He says the possibility of spills is something that concerns him and more research would be needed before he made any decision.
However, for people like Griffin, drilling is obviously not the right choice.
“I think you eventually have an accident and you lose your tourism dollars, lose your fishing industry; you could lose your beaches,” said Griffin.
If the president’s proposal passes, it would open up areas for offshore drilling not only off of North and South Carolina Coasts, but Virginia and Georgia.
The sites would be 50 miles off the coasts and not available to oil companies until 2021.
The Myrtle Beach Chamber of Commerce tells news 13 they support “environmentally friendly” drilling of the South Carolina coast that will not endanger tourism or real estate.