The Latest: Lawmaker introduces offshore drilling provision
COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — The Latest on the South Carolina Senate Budget Debate (all times local):
A South Carolina senator says he plans to introduce a provision into this year’s $9 billion spending plan that would ban onshore infrastructure associated with drilling and seismic testing for oil and gas off the South Carolina coast.
Republican Sen. Chip Campsen introduced the plan during a news conference Wednesday morning and said offshore drilling doesn’t make economic sense and could threaten the future of tourism in the state. Gov. Henry McMaster, Attorney General Alan Wilson and both Republican and Senate lawmakers were also in attendance.
The provision would prevent the Department of Health and Environmental Control or local government entities to use any funds to approve licenses or permits associated with offshore drilling for oil or gas or for seismic testing.
The South Carolina Senate will begin their discussions on how the state should spend its nearly $9 billion budget for the upcoming fiscal year.
Lawmakers will begin their debate Wednesday on the Senate floor.
The budget, approved by the Senate Finance Committee earlier this month, allows for nearly $1 billion more in spending than the last budget.
Senators say this year’s priorities include providing salary increases for teachers, state workers and judicial department employees.
The plan includes allocating $159 million toward increasing the minimum teacher salary and $41 million to cover a 2% cost of living pay raise for state workers.
Senate Finance Committee Chairman Hugh Leatherman commended the House for sending over what he called one of the best budgets he has seen in a long time.