March 14, 2018
Kiawah Island joins other Coastal Communities in Opposition to Offshore Oil Exploration
Since 2015, most South Carolina coastal communities, including Kiawah Island, have expressed opposition to oil exploration along the Atlantic coast. Kiawah’s Town Council passed a resolution to this effect in 2015 and reaffirmed that resolution last year.
More recently, a number of South Carolina coastal municipalities, including the neighboring communities of Seabrook, Charleston, Folly Beach, Isle of Palms and Beaufort, have joined with the South Carolina Environmental Law Project (SCELP) in pursuing legal action should the federal government approve pending permits for seismic testing, which is the precursor to off-shore oil exploration.
SCELP is a nonprofit public interest law firm, dedicated to the protection of S.C.’s environment. The potential lawsuit, led by SCELP, would focus on the concerns of these coastal communities about the potential negative impact of oil and gas exploration on the coastal environment and the State’s tourism industry.
At the March 6, 2018, Town Council meeting, Council voted to join in this potential legal action. Should a lawsuit be filed by SCELP, Kiawah will join other communities as a named entity but will not be expending any funds. The Town Council’s consideration of this action recognized that residents have diverse opinions on the issue and there are considerations that argue for and against joining this potential legal action. The Council’s decision to join this action is consistent with the position reflected by its previous resolutions.