Editor: There has been quite a bit of back and forth about the recent draft proposal released by Secretary Zinke and the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management setting up possible lease sales for exploration off of our coast. While this is a topic that certainly raises a number of questions, it’s time we get personal beliefs out of the way in favor of the facts.
I fully believe that the people of the coast, the ones most likely to be affected, should have an opportunity to hear more about the plan and to have their voices heard. After a quick search for BOEM’s comment period, their page has turned up that they are seeking comments on the plan and want to focus on data and facts. Even in the lead up to the draft proposal, BOEM utilized over 800,000 comments from the public. This is the correct way to approach a plan and public outreach and will hopefully guide their decisions as they move through the process.
Recent articles have suggested that Buddy Carter echoes this sentiment and is ready to stand up for his constituents. Just a day after the plans’ released, he sent a letter to the BOEM Director asking for a meeting on the coast in order to have his constituents heard. Currently, just one meeting is scheduled in Georgia and that is in Atlanta in late February. Buddy Carter’s request is well-timed and shows that the rhetoric circulating about his unwillingness to listen to his constituents doesn’t ring true.
Georgia’s resources and coastline are a national treasure and support a lot of income and jobs for coastal Georgia. Buddy Carter’s support for our coast has been written about many times and has been stated in nearly every public event I’ve seen covered. This plan, which will take years and include multiple steps, may not lead to Georgia’s coasts being opened. But one thing is for sure, Buddy Carter is interested in having our voices heard and, given his statements, will pursue an outcome that is best for our beautiful coastline.