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Natural Gas Exploration Study Committee on Right Track Architect of Virginia Energy Plan Voices Support

October 28, 2008

STATE OF SOUTH CAROLINA

THE SENATE

For Immediate Release

October 28, 2008

Natural Gas Exploration Study Committee on Right Track Architect of Virginia Energy Plan Voices Support

Columbia, SC–The South Carolina Natural Gas Exploration Study Committee is moving in the right direction, according to testimony given in today’s meeting. Virginia State Senator Frank Wagner, developer of the Virginia Energy Plan, told committee members they are on the right track to understanding “the South Carolina way” to offshore drilling.

“There may be no silver bullet energy solution, but I like to think there is a silver shotgun shell,” says Senator Wagner. “Natural gas exploration is just one part of a very comprehensive energy plan South Carolina needs to develop. The overall plan must take advantage of the state’s strengths in nuclear power and research currently being conducted at universities across the state, which is tied together in a comprehensive package that allows the state to move forward.”

Senator Wagner went on to say, “South Carolina is taking the right steps in the study process, and I would suspect the conclusion will be very similar to Virginia; that given the proper environmental safe guards, it would be appropriate to take advantage of any resources that may be available.”

Senator Wagner, whose Senate district includes parts of Virginia Beach, has been a key leader on energy issues in Virginia. He chaired the state’s study committee on offshore natural gas production and authored the Virginia Energy Plan, a comprehensive statewide energy policy.

“Expanding our energy resources is top of the mind for everyone right now,” says committee co-chairman Senator Paul Campbell (R-Berkeley).

“But, we want to be responsible and look at all aspects of this issue. We want to look at the pros and the cons while at the same time protect tourism and the environment.”

The Department of Commerce; Parks, Recreation and Tourism; and Natural Resources also made presentations to the committee covering a range of issues from the potential economic impact of offshore drilling to developing a better understanding of the subsurface geology of South Carolina’s continental shelf.

The committee plans to submit a preliminary report to the General Assembly by the end of the month, but Senator Campbell would like to see the committee continue working toward a more comprehensive overview of its findings and the committee will meet again on November 20.

“We have a good committee and this is a valuable education process,” says Senator Campbell. “We need to understand exactly what options are available and give the General Assembly the information necessary to take an informed course of action that leads to the best possible results for South Carolina.”

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Douglas Ford

Majority Communications Director

South Carolina Senate

douglasford@scsenate.org

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