I would like to comment on Brian Hicks’ May 6 column “Columbia deaf on offshore drilling.” Although exploration for oil and gas is a local issue, in this case local includes the coast from North Carolina to Georgia. He is correct that fish don’t react well to “shooting seismic guns into the ocean;” in the long run, however, oil rigs attract fish, which in turn attract a robust sports fishing industry.

Mr. Hicks writes that to get us off of foreign oil, politcians should look at wind or other alternative fuels. Since oil is primarily used for transportation and home heating with only 2 percent of our electricity generated using oil, wind and solar do nothing to reduce our reliance on oil. If we can’t explore for oil we also can’t explore for natural gas, which is used to generate 27 percent of our electricity.

Wind and solar are a long way from being reliable, economical and available, and since nuclear is unacceptable to many, without oil and natural gas we are out of options for transportation and electricity.

Although there are risks in exploring for oil and gas 50 miles off of our coast, I believe they are overstated. If those risks aren’t being overstated than it is not an overstatement to say you risk death driving to work (every year 30,000 people die in traffic accidents).

According to the Census Bureau, the poverty rate in South Carolina is a little under 20 percent. I acknowledge the risk but would ask those of us in the 80 percent to accept a little manageable risk for the benefit of the 20 percent who live in poverty.

The bottom line is that although there are risks exploring for gas and oil 50 miles off of our coast, the risks in not exploring are greater; they include your job, your transportation and your children and grandchildren’s future.

Philip Holberton

Chapel Creek Road

Pawleys Island