President Barack Obama's announcement today opening much of U.S. waters off the east coast to oil and natural gas drilling has angered some on the left and failed to satisfy others on the right. But exploration off the South Carolina coast is still in doubt.
The federal government is expected to spend the next two years evaluating what's out there, says Hamilton Davis with the Coastal Conservation League, a nonprofit environmental watchdog.
"Based on studies that have already been done on South Carolina, there's not anything out there that's commercially recoverable," he says, noting the story is similar in neighboring states in the Southeast.
Even if more detailed analysis proves drilling would be profitable off South Carolina, it would be at least six or seven years before drilling is possible.
"Going through the process, there will be a lot of involvement from the public," Davis says. "This won't happen overnight."
What has puzzled most environmentalists, including Davis, is the administration's attempt to appease offshore supporters to his right before getting concrete support for a broader energy platform.
"We can't continue to take a piecemeal approach to energy policy," Davis says. "We need a comprehensive response on renewable energy, nuclear power, and offshore exploration."