MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) – Former U.S. House Speaker and GOP presidential candidate Newt Gingrich will be in Myrtle Beach Wednesday, along with U.S. Representative Tom Rice, local leaders, and energy experts to discuss developing offshore energy resources, particularly natural gas.
"South Carolina is a magnet for new manufacturing investment," said Gingrich. "Securing new energy resources can only boost the competitiveness of South Carolina companies making sure new jobs come into the state to stay."
The Southeast Energy Alliance estimates developing offshore energy resources in South Carolina could generate 2,000 new jobs and $45 billion in new federal, state and local revenue.
"Economic development is vitally important to South Carolina, particularly in the Pee Dee region, having South Carolina leaders in the same room discussing energy development can generate sustainable, well-paying jobs and economic growth," said Adam Waldeck, Executive Director of Southeast Energy Alliance.
But some say that offshore drilling does not make economic or environmental sense. The Coastal Conservation League argues that offshore oil and gas development creates large liabilities in terms of pollution.
"As demonstrated by the BP Deepwater Horizon accident of 2010, even one spill can decimate tourism and fishing industries," the League stated in a 2012 report.
The report also stated that estimates from the U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management reveal that based on national consumption rates, there is less than a 20-day supply of oil, and less than six months worth of natural gas in the South Atlantic planning area, which includes South Carolina, Georgia and Florida.
Other attendees of the forum Wednesday include: S.C. State Rep. Alan Clemmons, Myrtle Beach Mayor John Rhodes, and both the outgoing Chair of the Horry County Council Gary Loftus, and Chair candidate Mark Lazarus.
The forum starts at 3 p.m. on May 1 at the Myrtle Beach Convention Center.
Organizing partners for the forum include: Southeast Energy Alliance, Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce, the North Eastern Strategic Alliance, Santee Cooper, the Palmetto Agribusiness Council, the South Carolina Manufacturers Alliance, the Southern States Energy Board, Piedmont Natural Gas, and the National Ocean Industries Association.
General participants interested in attending the forum can RSVP at:
Newt Gingrich will make a stop in Florence before this energy forum. The event starts at 9 a.m. at the Floyd Conference Center on Freedom Boulevard in Florence. That's on the main campus of Carolina's Hospital System.