- Associated Press - Friday, August 15, 2014

CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) — South Carolinians are sharing strong and sharply different opinions with the federal government about the prospect of oil derricks going up off the state’s coast.

Dozens of residents have commented as the federal Bureau of Ocean and Energy Management begins the process of deciding where new oil and gas leases on the Outer Continental Shelf should be issued for the period between 2017 and 2022. Friday was the last day for comment.

The comments come from everyone from elected officials and businesspeople to environmental groups and just plain folks.

Those in favor say coastal energy resources will bring jobs and tax revenues. Opponents worry about the impact of drilling on the environment, including marine life and the state’s beaches, which are the heart of South Carolina’s $18 billion tourism industry.