As mayor of the great city of Charleston, I have the privilege of working on a regular basis with some of the finest leaders our state produces — private business people, nonprofit executives, elected officials, community volunteers and others. Every day, these men and women help tackle the toughest issues facing our state. Every day, they work hard to make a positive difference in the lives of our citizens.
Over the last six months, no issue has been more important to the economic well-being and quality of life of our coastal communities than the effort to stop seismic testing and oil drilling off the South Carolina coast. And during that period, no single person has been a more principled and effective leader in that fight than Beaufort Mayor Billy Keyserling.
Last year, when federal officials first announced their plan to open our state’s coastal waters to the dangerous, dirty business of offshore drilling, many believed it was a done deal. But thanks to Keyserling’s leadership — passing the first municipal resolution against offshore drilling, organizing grassroots citizen opposition, heading up our delegation to the White House and Congress — we were able to convince the federal government to change course. As a result, South Carolina’s coastline will continue to be among the most pristine and beautiful in the world.
I thank Keyserling for his leadership on this critical issue, and I look forward to working with him on other issues of importance to our cities and our citizens in the months and years ahead.