MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WBTW) – At its meeting Tuesday, the Myrtle Beach City Council approved a resolution opposing offshore drilling and exploration for oil and natural gas.
“This off-shore drilling is never going to be any benefit to this county or city ever,” stated Mayor John Rhodes.
Council’s resolution noted that tourism in Horry County generated $3.8 billion in 2014. Horry County alone was responsible for more than 31 percent of the state’s total tourism dollars, according to the Myrtle Beach City Government Facebook page.
In Horry County, tourism supports 39,000 jobs and $682 million in payroll income, according to 2014 numbers. Tourism also provides $370 million in tax revenue each year in Horry County. Further, tourism in the top three coastal counties — Horry, Charleston and Beaufort — generated a total of $7 billion in 2014, which created $1.7 billion in federal, state and local tax revenue.
The resolution notes that some benefits may exist from oil and gas exploration. However, the risk is much greater to the existing tourism industry if there’s an accident or spill. The risk far outweighs any benefits, according to Council.
The resolution states that Myrtle Beach is the “crown jewel of South Carolina’s tourism industry, and so must oppose any activity that would threaten our residents’ and citizens’ livelihoods and investments.”
Council’s vote was 6 to 1.