Local activists talk offshore drilling at summit in DC - WMBFNews.com, Myrtle Beach/Florence SC, Weather

Local activists talk offshore drilling at summit in DC

HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) - Local activists made their way back to town Thursday after a two-day opportunity to have their voices heard in Washington DC.

The national environmental group Oceana put on the Coastal Voices Summit, with the idea of honoring some South Carolina activists, all while giving them a chance to speak up to their representatives in Washington.

It was an opportunity in front of an audience that's hard for an activist to get.

Groups opposed to offshore drilling from all over the Eastern Seaboard got their chance to speak up. From the Grand Strand, Stop Offshore Drilling in the Atlantic, better known as SODA, the Sierra Club, and the NRDC all spoke to state representatives, and more.

"We had constituents there who met with White House officials, who met with the Department of the Interior, and many states up and down the coast were represented,” said Goffinet McLaren, co-founder of SODA.

McLaren was at the summit and hopes government leaders got the point.

Those for the offshore drilling believe in the jobs and revenue it could bring to the state. They also hope to keep oil production domestic.

McLaren and others hope to sway them the other way.

"Our economy here is based on tourism, why would we try to break what isn't broken?" asked McLaren.

She says one of the biggest points made to politicians was they need to listen to their constituents. McLaren says right now, there are more than 100 resolutions against offshore drilling in South Carolina, and that should mean something.

"We want to really emphasize to our government officials that we are opposed to offshore drilling, and they have to listen,” She said.

Those activists did meet with the office of local Representative Tom Rice, who has been publicly on the fence about the issue, opposing offshore drilling but being in favor of seismic testing.

Representative Rice is out of the country and could not be reached for a comment.

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