South Carolina joins lawsuit against Trump offshore drilling plan

South Carolina's attorney general became the first Republican to join a lawsuit against the Trump administration's offshore drilling plan Monday.

Alan Wilson (R) joined nine other states seeking to block seismic testing and potential exploratory drilling off the East Coast.

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“Once again the federal government seeks to intrude upon the sovereignty of the state of South Carolina,” Wilson said. “Such action puts our State’s economy, tourism and beautiful natural resources at risk. We are bringing suit to protect the State’s economy and the rule of law." 

“We understand the need to have a long-term, reliable energy supply. However, any comprehensive energy strategy must comply with the rule of law. While oil and gas exploration could bring in billions of dollars, doing it without adequate study and precautions could end up costing billions of dollars and cause irreversible damage to our economy and coast.”

According to the states and environmental groups filing the suit in South Carolina's district court, seismic testing could harm marine life and in turn tourism. 

South Carolina joins Maryland, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina and Virginia in the lawsuit.

The Trump administration has proposed opening the entire Atlantic coast, along with the Pacific coast and all around Alaska, to drilling.

The National Marine Fisheries Service, part of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, authorized five companies to conduct potentially damaging air gun tests in December.

But the Interior Department’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management would have to give those companies permits before testing can begin.