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We need to act to save oceans

Letter to the editor

POSTED: September 2, 2017 6:00 p.m.
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Editor: The phytoplankton in the ocean produce 50 to 85 percent of the oxygen in the Earth’s atmosphere. No oxygen, no life.

It is estimated that by 2050 there will be as much plastic in the ocean as there are fish! Pollution has a very negative effect on the elements that produce oxygen. How about the plan by Big Oil to do seismic testing in 300,000 square miles of our ocean from Virginia to Florida and within three mile of our shoreline? "Energy independence" is the battle cry. A great marketing term, nothing more. The market for the oil is elsewhere.

Think about it. Billions of microscopic organisms gathering in families and groups producing the oxygen that is vital to life on Earth. Now think about those families and groups coated in oil.

Seismic testing is explosions of sound that are 100,000 times more powerful than the blast of a jet engine. They are fired by air guns into the floor of the ocean.

Those would be the same explosions that U.S. Rep. Buddy Carter said were no more powerful than ultrasound used to examine an unborn fetus.

I have to assume that is what Big Oil told him on his fact finding mission to the Gulf of Mexico or maybe he read it somewhere on the internet.

The Bureau of Energy Management, which theoretically looks after the interests of the taxpayers (God help us), has conceded that seismic testing will probably kill a couple of hundred thousand animals out there. They must not have heard that seismic testing is no more harmful than an ultrasound!

Be assured that 200,000 is a very low estimate. That would be just the big ones where they can count carcasses on the beach or floating on the surface. Never mind the countless billions of microscopic and miniature marine life representing the nautical food chain graduating slowly up in size to things like shrimp and crabs and game fish. All of those forms of marine life that become unimportant when it comes to drilling for oil off the South Atlantic coast.

The drilling comes after the seismic testing. The ruptured oil well is just a matter of time after that. It’s not "if" but "when." Envision a flood of crude oil rushing along with our naturally high Georgia tides, filling every marsh and creek as it slides past I-95. A new wave of destruction coming every 12 hours with our semi-diurnal tides.

Rep. Carter recently assured us that he was a native of Coastal Georgia and would not support any threat to our "beautiful natural resources." In reality he is a stanch supporter of seismic testing and drilling for oil off the Georgia Coast.

He went on to explain that he reached his opinion about seismic testing by attending "meetings" and "roundtables." He didn’t go into detail about who else attended those meetings. Anybody from Big Oil? He topped his "research" off with a fact finding trip to the Gulf of Mexico! Not to worry tax payers, I suspect the cost of the trip was covered by the generosity of Big Oil itself!

Already, companies are requesting permits from NOAA for "Incidental Harassment Allocations." Where seismic testing is concerned, "Incidental Harassment," is a code term for destroying the capability of marine animals that function on sound to survive, being deafened and dying of starvation as a result, or frightened from the massive explosions to the point where they panic, surface too quickly and literally die from the bends.

Rep. Carter stated that the seismic testing project would create more than 5,000 jobs and mean over $700 million pumped into the Georgia economy by 2035. That comes out to about $38,000 a year, a one-time fat check for $8.36 per person. What a boon! I suspect someone else will be making a whole lot more than that if it comes to a vote.

The oil business is far too complicated for me to understand but I am sure Rep. Carter has been well advised. He didn’t explain exactly what those jobs would be or how the state would make money on a highly specialized vessel that stays at sea for extended lengths of time from Virginia to Florida. The answers to those questions are irrelevant anyway. We simply can’t afford the exposure to ruptured oil wells or seriously damaged fisheries that are already failing.

There are more than 132 coastal communities that have already officially protested testing and drilling, including the Savannah, Tybee, Hinesville, Brunswick, Kingsland and St. Marys. Richmond Hill and Bryan County are not on that list.

There are over 1,200 officials who have officially protested the testing. There is an alliance of 41,000 businesses and 500,000 fishing families that have all officially rejected the idea. That is many more thousands of people than the 5,000 new jobs Rep. Carter quoted. These are people who make their living based on the health of our coastal waters including a multi-billion dollar tourist industry and a multi-billion dollar commercial fishing industry. Rep. Carter thinks they are all wrong.

I think Rep. Carter needs to re-examine the whole project. He must be a pretty smart guy. I understand he is a multi-millionaire with just one little drug store in Pooler. That is quite an accomplishment.

The governors of Delaware, New Jersey, Maryland, Virginia, North and South Carolina are all opposed to the testing and drilling. Georgia, also affected by the testing and drilling, has not opposed them. Governor Deal needs to declare his position on this very important matter along with every Georgia politician, local, state and federal.

Point is, neighbor, don’t depend on anyone but yourself to stop the madness. You don’t act, it will happen.

Roy Hubbard

Richmond Hill

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