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A conservative environmentalist
Guest columnist

I am a conservative.

I have voted for a few Dems along the way. I’m pushing 80 (love to say that) so I have seen a few elections come and go. I voted for Kennedy. I was happy to see his forward thinking in our need for expansion of special operations in the military which the Pentagon though was a waste of time and money in those days.

I voted for Donald Trump and I am very pleased with his accomplishments in such a short period of time. Many of those accomplishments are found in our nation’s greatly improved financial picture, the record breaking statistics for improving employment numbers and the beginning return of manufacturing to the United States. Certainly the rebuilding of support for our military is at the top of the list. It was a Democrat who said “Carry a big stick”. A very simple description of a very complex process for the defense of our nation. Now it’s gotta be, “Carry a bigger stick”!

There are many other recent areas of improvement that past administrations, both Republican and Democratic, seemed unable to handle. I believe, in most situations, it was due to an SOP (Standard Operating Procedure) of “Party, Politics and Political Job Security First, Nation Second”. Disgusting. The list of Trump’s accomplishments is long but, unfortunately, unknown to many because it is unpublished by the alphabet soup news media.

I hail the Trump Administration’s actions designed to stop the USA from being the easy pick for money for any reason by almost any country. Foreign countries not taking responsibility for their own defense is at the top of the list. I had personal experiences with that fiasco. Trying to buy allies is basically the same process as dealing with an extortionist.

However, in the midst of all of the Trump Administration’s achievements, there is a serious issue and that is the unprecedented negative attacks on so many fronts where our environment is concerned. Issues usually require negotiation and compromise between business and government and environmentalists. Perhaps the EPA has not had to be in a negotiating mood for a number of years but the same approach in reverse is also not a good thing.

Much of the sweeping eradication of measures initially designed to protect our environment has been promoted by pressure, financial and otherwise, from the petroleum industry and other industries. When the facts are presented their patriotic battle cries, such as “Energy Independence” and “National Security” fall pitifully and disgustingly short of their implied meaning.

The latest sleazy move is to use the term “veterans” and all that that word implies as a political tool to push their agenda as in “Veterans for Off Shore Drilling.” Vets, don’t be used! Get the facts. Carpetbaggers, quit pretending you care. Respect the title.

I have always been a supporter of the Southern Environmental Law Center (SELC) and their work. The SELC has fought and won many court cases defending policies that are designed to protect our environment and become a nuisance to some entities with personal gain at stake. They are equally proficient in stopping new policies that could have a negative effect on our environment. The SELC has repeatedly performed admirably for citizens of Georgia for many years.

While you are busy trying to get by and pay your bills and raise a family, the SELC is hard at work protecting your environment. They don’t waste their time preaching to the choir, they go to court and report to the choir after the fact. We will see the SELC in the forefront of the battle to stop the very dangerous concept of petroleum research off our coasts. I am sure they would appreciate your support, including your financial support.

There is no room here to argue the specifics of any area of environmental concerns the Trump Administration has raised in its’ seemingly blind attacks on so many environmental quarters. For the sake of your children and yourself, you have an obligation to seek out the truth. Talk to your representative but only after you have the facts.

It would be nice if teachers gave their students an assignment to report on the Atlantic Bight and the Gulf Stream and the importance of an estuary, particularly the Georgia estuary. The next time a politician comes to visit the school to harvest those new voters coming of age, she or he might have some serious questions to answer about the dangers of seismic testing and subsequent drilling for oil off the Georgia coast.

We all need to be informed as to the dynamics of seismic testing and how damaging seismic testing can be to our marine life and subsequently to us.

The threats presented by seismic testing and subsequent drilling for oil on the eastern seaboard in particular, are unique to us due to the configuration of our Georgia coastline. The threat of long term and irreversible damage to our coastline and our marine resources is present in seismic testing and oil exploration on the Georgia coast. How about an oil slick west of I-95?

There has to be a reason that, with few exceptions, nearly every community, every governmental body and every association involved with our fisheries and our tourism on the entire eastern seaboard of the United States has officially protested the concept of seismic testing and subsequent drilling for oil. According to the fisheries and tourist industries along our coast, there are billions of dollars and thousands of jobs at risk.

There is an estimated half million jobs in the fisheries that can be affected. Millions more in the tourist industries. Official resistance has surfaced from Maine to Miami with all apparently being ignored by the Trump Administration.

One needs to understand the dynamics of the Georgia coast itself. It is unique in the world. You can own waterfront property, have lived here all your life and still not know the complexity of your environmental surroundings. Georgia and South Carolina coastlines are ground zero for seismic testing. It has to do with a few thousand square miles of shallow water in the “Atlantic Bight” in our near and offshore waters.

Everyone needs to get involved with the concept of petroleum research off our coast. Just a hint, if you really want the facts and the truth, talk to a scientist, not a PR guy for some petroleum or chemical industry. Your political representative may be miss informed or uninformed or uniformly complicit with the concept. Petroleum money has been flowing into Georgia for a long time. Big oil has had an early campaign in place to soften the coastal area up for conquest by courting our political leadership.

Georgia is already a dumping ground for dirty industry. It has been for a long time. We are home to the largest coal fired power plant in the world.

The power is sold off to other places. We just get the dirt, the particulate pollution. That’s the stuff you suck into your lungs for a few years before it begins to affect you. We get the contamination of our water and soil from mercury produced by the burning of coal.

Don’t get me wrong. This is not argument for the elimination of fossil fuel energy resources. By necessity we use a tremendous amount of that form of energy. We need to maintain that resource for some time to come. We just have to be able to recognize the difference between need and greed.

Maybe the subject should be part of the ballot in November. Maybe the politicians might actually do their constituents bidding, vote no to petroleum exploitation on our coast and return the bribe money.

Don’t drill Georgia!

Roy (Hub) Hubbard Hubbard, a retired Green Beret and conservative environmental activist, lives in South Bryan.

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