Duncan Statement: "Misguided" Effort by Democrats

South Carolina voters simply do not want drilling off our coast ..." - John Tynan, Executive Director of Conservation Voters of South Carolina. TOMORROW: Congressman Joe Cunningham, Governor Henry McMaster and Local Leaders to Hold Press Conference on Friday to Celebrate House Passage of Offshore Drilling Ban Charleston, SC - Congressman Joe Cunningham, Governor Henry McMaster, state and local elected officials and environmental leaders will hold a press conference on Friday to discuss the recent passage of HR 1941, Cunningham’s bill to ban offshore drilling off the South Carolina coast. Who: Congressman Joe Cunningham, Governor Henry McMaster, local elected officials, environmental groups What: Press Conference to discuss passage of HR 1941, Cunningham’s offshore drilling ban When: TOMORROW, Friday, September 13th - 1:30pm Where: Bowen’s Island Restaurant, 1870 Bowens Island Restaurant, Charleston, SC Reporters interested in attending should RSVP to Rebecca.drago@mail.house.gov before Thursday COB.




Bill to Block Offshore Drilling and Seismic Testing in SC Passes U.S. House - Duncan Is Opposed.


COLUMBIA – HR1941, the Coastal and Marine Economies Protection Act, passed the U.S. House Wednesday with bipartisan support. The amended bill would block new offshore drilling and seismic testing along the entire Atlantic coast of the U.S., including South Carolina. HR1941 was introduced by Rep. Joe Cunningham from South Carolina’s 1st Congressional District.

Laurens Congressman Jeff Duncan called the drilling ban “misguided”.

The bipartisan vote shows strong support for protecting our coasts from additional offshore drilling activities, according to the Conservation Voters of South Carolina.

“With this win, voters’ demands from across South Carolina are being realized. This bill permanently protects our coast from dirty and dangerous offshore drilling, moves us farther away from dirty fossil fuels, and protects our billion-dollar coastal tourism industry – all issues on which voters have spoken loudly and clearly,” said John Tynan, Executive Director of Conservation Voters of South Carolina.

“As a result of Congressman Cunningham’s leadership on this issue, we are glad to see a bipartisan majority of Congress add their voices to the fight to protect the Atlantic coast,” shared Tynan. “Congress joins local leaders from every South Carolina coastal community, a strong bipartisan coalition at the SC General Assembly, and our Governor and State Attorney General, who have all taken decisive action against offshore drilling.”

With the bill passing the US House, it will now head to the US Senate for consideration. “South Carolina voters simply do not want drilling off our coast, and we look forward to connecting these advocates with their Senators as they consider this important bill to protect South Carolina’s coastal economies,” Tynan said.

Rep. Joe Cunningham’s bipartisan legislation to permanently ban offshore oil and gas drilling off the Atlantic and Pacific Coasts passed the U.S. House of Representatives. H.R. 1941, The Coastal and Marine Economies Protection Act, fulfills a major promise of Cunningham’s to ensure there is never offshore drilling off South Carolina’s coastline. 

“Today the House took definitive action to ensure there are never any oil rigs off South Carolina’s shores,” said Rep. Joe Cunningham. “South Carolinians on both sides of the aisle have sent the message loud and clear: we don’t want offshore drilling and we don’t need offshore drilling. Now I call on my colleagues in the Senate to heed the call of coastal communities across the country and pass this bill.”

Speaking at a press conference earlier in the afternoon, Rep. Cunningham said, “We’ve proven to folks that opposition to offshore drilling is not a partisan issue. In my state of South Carolina, I’ve worked with coastal mayors up and down our coast and Governor Henry McMaster to oppose offshore drilling. I’ve been inspired by the work of the South Carolina State House this year to ban the onshore infrastructure necessary for offshore drilling. In Washington, I’ve been thrilled to have Rep. Francis Rooney’s support introducing this bill.”

Prior to passage, Cunningham urged his colleagues to put people over politics saying, “We, as Members of this institution, have an obligation to not only respond to current events but also to anticipate future problems and work to prevent them.  You don’t wait for a bridge to break to fix its foundation.  You don’t wait for the hurricane to hit before boarding up your windows. And you don’t wait for an oil spill to realize offshore drilling isn’t worth jeopardizing a booming tourist economy.”

Congressman Rooney stated, “The economic and environmental risks to our coastal economies which offshore drilling creates far outweigh any potential benefits. Seismic testing and drilling threaten our fish and marine mammal populations.  The industrial infrastructure needed to support offshore drilling, and ultimately offshore production of oil and gas, is wholly incompatible with the economies of our coastal communities. Passage of H.R. 1941 is a great step forward in protecting our waters, our economy, and our future.”

“Representatives Cunningham, Rooney and Castor should be applauded for putting politics aside and coming together to protect our coasts from offshore drilling,” said Diane Hoskins, campaign director at Oceana. “Today’s vote to permanently ban offshore drilling underscores the strength of bipartisan opposition to President Trump’s radical drilling plan. Opening nearly all our waters to dirty and dangerous drilling is out of touch with every East and West Coast governor. Offshore drilling threatens our fishing, tourism and recreation industries and everyone who calls the coast home. But the fight is not over and we must not give up until permanent protections are established or President Trump’s plan is officially off the table.”

“We have a duty to protect our waters, marine life, coastal communities and all they support from the risks of offshore drilling and the certainty of another spill. And we can’t afford to lock ourselves into decades of more carbon pollution that’s driving rising seas, storms and epic floods. This bill protects our coasts - and our future. It deserves the support of every member who cares about protecting our coasts and communities for today and future generations,” said Alexandra Adams, Legislative Director, Nature Program, Natural Resources Defense Council.

“Our ocean and coastal communities are too valuable to risk reckless, unnecessary and irresponsible expansion of offshore oil and gas drilling.  Ocean Conservancy thanks Rep. Joe Cunningham (D-SC) for championing legislation that could permanently protect the Atlantic and Pacific coasts from drilling. By passing H.R. 1941, House members have put their constituents first and recognize that our ocean transcends politics,” said Janis Searles Jones, CEO, Ocean Conservancy.



Duncan Opposes Misguided Anti-Energy Exploration Bills


Washington, D.C. – Congressman Jeff Duncan (SC-03-Laurens), the Co-Chair of the House Energy Action Team (HEAT), released the following statement after opposing two restrictive and misguided anti-energy exploration bills:

“An all-of-the-above energy matrix is necessary to further the American energy renaissance our nation is experiencing. U.S. energy exploration and production lowers electric costs for consumers, provides good paying jobs, safeguards national security, and keeps our country as a global energy leader. These proposals would halt all the progress made over the last two and a half years.

“Exploration and development of our resources on the outer continental shelf provide American energy to the American people – it simply makes sense. If we don’t capitalize on domestic production, we’re going to have to import that energy from somewhere else. What’s the alternative? Reliance on foreign sources of energy from nations like Russia. These bills make us strategically weaker as a nation by leveraging Russia while undermining our own energy security.”


House GOP rolls out energy proposal to counter Democrats offshore drilling ban




House Republicans on Wednesday rolled out an energy bill that’s a direct counter to a push by Democrats to ban offshore drilling.

The American Energy First Act, introduced by six GOP lawmakers, is labeled as an “all-of-the-above” energy approach that doubles down on the country’s need for onshore and offshore leasing of public lands for drilling royalties. 

House Republican Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) along with Reps. Rob Bishop (R-Utah), Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.), Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.), Jeff Duncan (R-S.C.) and Markwayne Mullin (R-Okla.) introduced the bill.

“Federal regulations have burdened energy development on federal lands and waters for far too long, and this legislation aims to put American Energy First and ensure economic growth and domestic energy security for decades to come,” a description of the bill reads.

The legislation, largely a compilation of separate energy bills introduced by House lawmakers in previous sessions of Congress, is being pitched as an “alternative” energy bill to the three offshore drilling ban packages being voted on by the House this week, which GOP lawmakers have labeled as a "Green New Deal light."

A GOP committee aide for the House Natural Resources Committee said Republican lawmakers involved in the energy bill saw the plans currently pushed by Democrats as, “Fundamentals of the Green New Deal going as piecemeal.”

“What we see is a choice to go with less domestic energy development, locking up our federal land and waters, without evaluating what our possibilities are,” the aide said of the offshore drilling bills on a call with reporters Wednesday.

Lawmakers on Wednesday will vote on the House floor whether to pass two bills that would block exploration drilling in federal waters in the Gulf of Mexico and off the east and west coasts. Another vote on an oil and gas drilling moratorium in Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) is scheduled for Thursday.

The Republican House aide called the three bills, which have some bipartisan support, “dead on arrival” in the Senate. The White House on Monday promised a veto of the bills if any were to land on Trump’s desk.

The American Energy First Act instead opts to make it easier for the country to produce energy, with measures to limit the executive’s ability to place unilateral moratoriums on drilling on public lands and waters, extending oil and gas drilling to the eastern portion of the Gulf of Mexico that is currently off-limits due to a ban placed in 2006, and streamlining permits for fossil fuel leasers.

While the plan is not an alternative climate change package, committee aides made the point that emissions are lower when energy is produced under the U.S.’s stringent pollution standards. The aides argued that a ban on drilling in the U.S. would not stop oil and gas needs, but instead push the onus for powering the country onto energy exports from foreign, sometimes “unfriendly,” countries with lesser standards. Also, they say that shipping those fuels overseas for U.S. use would contribute to greenhouse gas emissions.

“What we see is, looking at these proposals, they aren’t going to do anything to lessen how much oil and gas and conventional resources we're using in the country,” the aide said. “All we'll do is reduce the energy we are producing here and allow for a greater share of imports.”

The bill was also conceived with 2020 elections in mind and the message that could be sent to voters.

“We want to require that Congress weigh in on those decisions, especially with federal candidates saying they will lock up drilling on federal land unilaterally within their first few days in Congress,” the aide said.

“Americans in advance of the election next year should be aware of what alternatives are. This is good policy and what we think is a good starting place while adhering to principles of multiple use.”

Democrats at a coinciding press hearing Wednesday morning poked fun at the Republican bill.

Rep. Jared Huffman (D-Calif), who sponsored the bill to block exploration at ANWR, called the lawmakers backing the Republican legislation “some of the greatest minds of the 18th century."


HEAT Members Blast Democrats' Short-Sighted Energy Bills


Washington, D.C. – Congressman Jeff Duncan (SC-03), Co-Chair of the House Energy Action Team (HEAT), joined members of HEAT to strongly condemn a trio of highly-restrictive energy bills advanced by Democrats in the House this week.

The Trump Administration issued a veto threat to the bills in a Statement of Administration Policy, noting “These bills would undermine the Administration’s commitment to a prosperous American economy supported by the responsible use of the Nation’s abundant natural resources. Development of our resources enhances our energy security and energy dominance and produces high-paying American jobs; provides increased revenue to the Treasury, States, tribes, and local communities; and is a critical source of conservation funding.”

HEAT Co-Chair, Rep. Jeff Duncan (SC-03): “Exploration and development of our resources provide American energy to the American people – it simply makes sense. If we don’t capitalize on domestic production, we’re going to have to import that energy from somewhere else. What’s the alternative? Reliance on foreign sources of energy from nations like Russia. These bills make us strategically weaker as a nation by leveraging Russia while undermining our own energy security.”

Republican Whip Steve Scalise (LA-01): “Liberals want to pick winners and force government mandates upon American businesses. This ridiculous agenda will only put Americans out of work and increase prices of American consumers. The American people deserve a free market, all-of-the-above energy policy that promotes responsible energy exploration and development. I deeply appreciate our House Energy Action Team members' leadership in opposing this restrictive legislation and fighting to put American energy first.”

Rep. Larry Bucshon, M.D. (IN-08): “I support an all-of-the-above energy approach to ensure that Americans have access to abundant and affordable sources of American energy. Using our nation’s resources provides benefits in the form of jobs and economic investment for millions of Americans employed in and around the production of energy, but also for Americans employed by energy-intensive industries. American energy independence is thriving and keeping the energy costs of Americans low, and these restrictive energy exploration bills take a giant leap backwards to a time when energy prices were higher and our nation was dangerously dependent on foreign sources of energy.”

Rep. Dan Crenshaw (TX-02): “Being pro-energy and pro-conservation are not mutually exclusive, but these bills operate under that guise. Permanently banning energy exploration is short-sighted and limits our ability to react to future energy needs. It’s actually worse for air and water quality because it reinforces global reliance on dirty oil. We make our earth cleaner by producing clean, cheap, exportable energy and sharing it with the world.”

Rep. Russ Fulcher (ID-01): “These democrat bills are a step backward, resulting in higher energy costs to Americans and millions of jobs eliminated. We should take advantage of our country’s bountiful energy resources as we continue researching additional sources-- not increase our dependence on foreign oil imports.”

Rep. Paul Gosar (AZ-04): “The United States is home to some of the richest energy sources in the world. Rather than relying on hostile regimes who hate America, we should be producing energy right here in our backyard. Today’s Left wants to lock up millions of acres of land and water from energy exploration which will put millions of Americans out of work, send energy prices skyrocketing, and harm our national security.”

Rep. Kevin Hern (OK-01): “Energy dominance is our goal. To get there, we must enact free-market solutions to power our country and propel us forward. Energy is Oklahoma’s lifeblood. We are on the front lines of innovation and excellence in the industry. Restrictive, anti-growth energy policies from the Left cut out the fossil fuels that we have depended on for generations.  An all-of-the-above approach to energy policy will help us utilize the resources we have domestically and move away from dependence on our foreign adversaries. I urge my colleagues to join us in support of these common-sense energy bills.”

Rep. Richard Hudson (NC-08): “I want good-paying energy jobs in North Carolina. These bills deny us that opportunity and deny the fact that we can responsibly explore and produce offshore energy while protecting our beautiful coast and our tourism and ocean industries. I will continue to work to get North Carolina into the energy business.”

Rep. Debbie Lesko (AZ-08): “Energy is a critical driver of the American economy. The United States is not only on a path to energy independence, but to energy dominance. We cannot reach or even sustain our potential without large scale access to developing our energy resources. These three bills put our energy independence, quality of life, and national security at risk. Affordable and reliable energy can be produced right here at home. We should continue to do just that.”

Rep. Pete Olson (TX-22): “American energy is synonymous with American security and these bills put both in peril. I say this both as a Texan who knows the disastrous effect these bills would have on the energy industry in my state, and as a veteran who understands the consequences on our military if these bills become law. Unlike most of this bill's supporters, I am a retired Naval aviator who has flown training missions over oceans both at home and around the world. We can protect our training areas for the men and women who are getting ready to do the job that I did for so many years without instituting blanket bans on energy production.”

Rep. Guy Reschenthaler (PA-14): “Thanks to the Trump Administration’s pro-energy policies, we are seeing the enormous economic, consumer, and security benefits generated by the energy industry, including many good-paying American jobs in western Pennsylvania. These misguided bills would not only end this progress by eliminating jobs and increasing energy prices, but also make our nation dependent on foreign energy sources. I look forward to working with Whip Scalise, Co-chairs Mullin and Duncan, and the other HEAT Members to promote ideas that encourage innovation and energy independence and keep energy bills low for American families.”

Rep. Bruce Westerman (AR-04): “The U.S. is blessed with an abundance of natural resources. It is in our national interest to not only understand what resources are at our disposal, but to also be good stewards of those resources and use them in an environmentally-friendly manner. We should be using every tool at our disposal to produce the cleanest, cheapest and safest energy possible. These proposals would do nothing but slow the progress we’ve made over the years.”


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