Conservation activists ask judge to halt offshore drilling prep; locals react

Conservation groups ask judge to halt offshore drilling prep work; locals weigh in on controversial topic

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - Offshore drilling and seismic testing are words that many along the Grand Strand are very familiar with.

Today, two Surfside Beach residents shared stories of their love for Grand Strand beaches, but two different opinions on offshore drilling.

“If it went south and if they had an oil spill then our whole town, our whole community is shut down,” Kelly Richards, Owner of Village Surf Shop said. "

“It’s more than 12 miles offshore which is where international waters begin, so somebody is going to drill there,” Joe Land said. “If somebody is going to drill there lets at least make sure it’s an American company so we can hold their feet to the fire with safety.”

In a motion for an injunction filed Wednesday in Federal Court here in South Carolina, conservation groups are asking a judge to put prep work for the drilling along our coast on hold until their case is heard in court.

Conservation groups and cities along South Carolina's coast seek to permanently halt the offshore drilling tests. Ten states have joined the suit against the Trump Administration...which alleges the National Marine Fisheries Service violated the Marine Mammal Protection Act, the Endangered Species Act, and the National Environmental Policy Act when it issued the permits.

Richards says if the drilling were to happen we could be endangering many habitats within the Ocean.

“That’s their home and anything we do to change their home is not good," Richards said. "It’s like if you came to my house and you put a drill in my house it’s not good.”

In South Carolina, 16 cities are a part of the suit against the Trump administration, many of those cities are here in the Grand Strand.

When Land was asked on his thoughts surrounding the lawsuit he said many people are “misguided.”

“Let’s worry about something we can do today," Land said. "Let’s worry about our infrastructure. Let’s do something about that.. this is something the democrats and republicans can agree on.”

As for the motion filed Wednesday, Federal officials haven’t officially responded to the lawsuit in court filings and have until April 11 to do so.

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