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Off-shore drilling addressed at city council meeting

POSTED: February 21, 2018 8:24 a.m.

Residents Tuesday night asked Richmond Hill City Council to take a stance against aquatic seismic testing and oil drilling off Georgia’s coast.

“Seismic testing threatens the local ecosystem and could negatively impact the critically endangered right whale population,” Corey Barnes told the council. “The presence of oil drilling off the coast introduces massive risk that rekindles memories of the Deepwater Horizon disaster that led to 11 deaths and catastrophic damage to the Gulf Coast. The last thing coastal Georgians want to see is thick, poisonous oil lapping up to the pristine sand.”

Barnes also noted that studies have shown drilling off of Georgia’s coast is incompatible with military training, particularly from Kings Bay.

“The quest for oil should not come at the expense of our national security,” he said.

Barnes made a similar presentation to the Bryan County Board of Commissioners recently, and he asked both bodies to pass a resolution opposing the seismic testing and drilling.

“Richmond Hill would by no means be the first municipal government to speak out against this,” he said. “Already Savannah, Tybee Island, Brunswick, St. Mary’s, Kingsland, Hinesville, Porterdale and Chatham County have passed similar resolutions to speak in defense of the environment.”

Cathy Butler Gregory, a local real estate agent, agreed.

“Our marshes is where marine life begins,” she told the council. “We’ve enjoyed these estuaries for years and should protect them for future generations.”

Gregory said that as Coastal Georgia grows, the impact on the environment increases.

“If you look at the tidal creeks, you can see it,” she said. “There are more boats on the water and more gas and oil coming from those boats.”

Mayor Russ Carpenter told Barnes and Gregory that their concerns would receive “serious attention.”

The Bryan County News has also printed several letters to the editor on this issue over the past several weeks.

In other business, the council voted to allow the Richmond Hill Police Department to donate retired K9 officer Daky to a wounded combat veteran. Daky was a partner to Sgt. Ruben Acosta for several years working in narcotics enforcement.

The dog was donated to David Allen DeWalt, who also happened to serve in the Army with Acosta in Iraq.

“It’s hard to see him go, but he’s going to a good man,” Acosta said.

Daky was retrained through a Veterans Administration program.

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