June 12, 2009

A study finds natural resources are essential to economy

A study conducted by the University of South Carolina has found our state's natural resources capable of providing plentiful economic growth...if we sustain our natural resources by not having yet another coal plant constructed. The Pdf of the University's study, linked at the bottom, shows how natural resources can help our state's economic growth.

Charleston Regional Business Journal
Study: S.C. natural resources make $30B impact yearly
James T. Hammond
May 27, 2009

In what Moore School of Business professor Doug Woodward described as an “eye-opener,” researchers found almost $30 billion of annual economic activity stemming from South Carolina’s natural resources, plus about 230,000 jobs — one out of every eight jobs in the state.

The new study from the University of South Carolina asserts that well-managed natural resources are essential for economic development. The state’s natural resources — and the economic activity that grows out of those assets — are “the baseline for what we do across our different business sectors,” said John Frampton, director of the S.C. Department of Natural Resources, which initiated the study.

S.C. DNR has been under pressure from budget cuts for years, with the knife falling particularly hard in the current recession. The department’s financial resources have been cut more than any other state agency’s, its advocates said.

Well-managed natural resources have yet another impact, according to the report: “Increasingly, scholarly research shows that talented people — the kind the state wants to retain — reside in places with quality natural resource-related amenities and recreation opportunities. Thus, they provide a magnet for human capital.”

Brad Wyche, executive director and founder of Upstate Forever, a Greenville-based conservation advocacy group, said the first-ever impact report on the value of natural resources is an extremely important study.

“I hope it will open the eyes of our legislators to the value of our natural resources,” Wyche said. “It’s a shame they have cut DNR more than any other agency.”

Woodward, with Paulo Guimaraes in USC’s Division of Research, said it can be clearly shown that natural resources support thousands of jobs, millions of dollars in income and a permanent base for economic development that should last forever.

“Access to abundant recreational opportunities and natural assets plays an important role in economic growth and quality of life, so protection and enhancement of our
natural resources should be part of our overall economic development strategy,” Frampton said.

The impacts presented in the study, titled “Underappreciated Assets: The Economic Impact of South Carolina’s Natural Resources,” measure the annual economic activity associated with certain resource bases such as land (forestry) and water (fishing, swimming, boating).

The study produced the following findings, from 2008:
  • Visitors and local residents who took advantage of South Carolina’s most
    famous recreational assets — sandy beaches and ocean surf — added $3.5 billion
    to the state’s economy and supported nearly 81,000 jobs.
  • Fishing, hunting and wildlife viewing added $2.2 billion to the economy and
    supported nearly 59,000 jobs.
  • The state’s forestry industry exported more than $1 billion in forest
    products and supported nearly 84,000 jobs.
  • The boat-building industry added nearly $400 million to the state’s economy
    and supported more than 9,500 jobs.
  • Mining activities added nearly $219 million to the state’s economy and
    supported more than 2,500 jobs.
  • Commercial marine fisheries in South Carolina added about $14 million to the
    state’s economy and supported 661 jobs. As the economy recovers from the
    recession and “expands in the years ahead, these impacts will grow,” the report said. “Natural resources should always be considered integral to economic

To see the article, click here

To see the entire study (Pdf), click here

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