Forum discusses oil spill effects on Grand Strand

Myrtle Beach, SC - By A.J. Ross - bio | email

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) – An open forum was held in the Grand Strand on Thursday night to discuss the potential effects the Gulf oil spill could have on South Carolina's beaches.

The Grand Strand Technology Council hosted the forum where professors from the Marine and Applied Science departments at Coastal Carolina University made presentations outlining just how much oil could come our way.

"A lot of things would have to happen for the oil to make it to the Grand Strand," Dr. James Luken explained, the Associate Dean of the College of Science.  "Even if it did come our way I think it would be nothing at all like they're experiencing in the Gulf."

Luken says at most he and his colleagues anticipate a few tar balls may wash ashore.  However he believes by the time they reach our coast, it shouldn't take much of an effort to clean them up.

"When oil that's really highly weathered ends up in beach areas it's probably the easiest to deal with simply because it's just a matter of going along and scooping it up," Luken said.

However these predictions are not preventing some Grand Strand residents from wanting local leaders to have a course of action in place.

"It touched me as a person and I said what can I do in the state of South Carolina to be ready for what could possibly happen," Charles Grant, a concerned Georgetown County resident said.

Grant passed out flyers to people as they entered the forum, asking them to contact their local politicians and urge them to have a recovery plan in place.

But local experts say the need for such emergency plans is minimal according to their data.

"The chances are pretty low that oil will come our way," Luken said.  "This is something of course that we need to think about, and we need to factor that into policies that are made, and make sure we have a clear understanding for what the impacts are of something like this short term and long term."

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