55 Congress members asking Obama not to test for oil and natural gas offshore (copy) (copy)

Oil and natural industry companies are seeking to open waters offshore South Carolina to for drilling and other industrialization. BOEM/Provided

NOAA is inviting the public to have its say Monday in a listening session on ocean-based economic opportunities.

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration officials do expect exploring or drilling for natural gas and oil offshore to be a topic.

The session takes place at the Charleston Maritime Center, 10 Wharfside St., starting at 3 p.m.

Timothy Gallaudet, a U.S. Department of Commerce assistant secretary for oceans and atmosphere, is scheduled to talk about opportunities to improve the efficiency of U.S. ports, reduce the seafood trade deficit and expand exploration of the nation’s Exclusive Economic Zone.

A public comment session will follow. Among other organizations, the conservation advocate Oceana will be there. The group views it as a chance to voice opposition to leases for seismic blast testing for fossil fuels offshore — leases it expects the Trump administration to approve soon.

The session “is a great opportunity for local residents to voice their concern," said Samantha Siegel, Charleston-based Oceana senior campaign organizer. "Any move to threaten our way of life with dirty and dangerous offshore oil drilling would be bad for business and wreck our coastal way of life."

The session is one among a series NOAA has been holding across the country on issues involving the Commerce department's recently released strategic plan. People with interests in the issues regularly have used the sessions to criticize recent federal environmental moves.

Reach Bo Petersen Reporter at Facebook, @bopete on Twitter or 1-843-937-5744.

Science and environment reporter. Author of Washing Our Hands in the Clouds.