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Oppose big oil, seismic testing off Georgia
Roy Hubbard
Roy Hubbard is a retired Green Beret and environmental activist who lives on the Georgia coast. - photo by File photo

I was going to write an article on vultures. However I have another, pardon the pun, bone to pick.

There is the growing possibility of seismic testing being done in a search for oil deposits along the South Atlantic coast. The former administration put a five year moratorium on seismic testing and drilling for oil off the southern Atlantic coast.

The present administration has chosen to re-open the "study" to determine the feasibility of drilling for oil off our coast, most probably with a pre-determined conclusion.

The battle cry of "energy independence" which is actually nothing more than a clever marketing concept with little real basis, is the first affront to common sense.

Simply put, the demand for fossil fuel use in this country is declining. Big oil has to look for other markets, along with new sources for export to Europe and Asia. You can believe me when I say my most fervent hope is that American big oil becomes ever more prosperous and strong, just not at the expense of a few million people living along the Atlantic Coast.

Lots of politics involved here in the form of fat donations to politicians from oil interests to minimize political resistance. It wouldn’t be the first time a politician sold his soul to the devil for campaign money.

I want to think that the absence of opposition by our leadership to such an idea as drilling for oil off the Georgia coast is born of ignorance of the facts surrounding the dynamics of the natural elements of our coast.

We are not the Gulf of Mexico where there is essentially no tide, no current, no immeasurable massive exchange of water flooding miles inland and back out again twice a day, every day, without fail.

There is no Gulf Stream there rushing north to North Carolina and then turning part of its power back south again to run along the coast, sort of like a giant washing machine.

I am not going to get into the details here but it’s all about tides and currents and water levels and wind and water and the total uniqueness of our coastline. All of which is obviously being disregarded by big oil.

And when big oil starts telling us how safe it is and how wonderful it is going to be for everyone, I can only think of the recent battle with what is probably the world’s largest petroleum pipeline management company, Kinder Morgan.

I recall their spokesman standing at a public microphone espousing how safe their system was and how they had state of the art monitoring which provided for a guy in Atlanta to immediately detect a leak and shut it off from his computer.

Even as he spoke, one of their pipelines was ruptured and leaking, destroying massive tracts of land for ever. In one case, destroying the dreams of a couple who wanted to start up a pecan orchard at what became ground zero for raw gas dilution.

It took a farmer to make a phone call to Kinder Morgan and fill them in on the disaster occurring. It took them forever to react. I don’t know where the guy with the computer in Atlanta was.

So when big oil starts telling us how safe it is and how completely out of the realm of possibility it is that a massive dilution of crude oil along our entire coast is possible, I will not believe them.

I will not believe them because of their history of "accidents" and because of my elementary understanding of the dynamics of the Atlantic Ocean.

I seemed to have jumped ahead. I am envisioning standing on the Tivoli River bridge on Belfast Keller Road, watching the tide come in and with it some sort of black oily stuff permanently destroying the flora and killing every living thing it touches. I seemed to have jumped ahead because I passed over the disastrous effects of seismic testing which comes first.

Seismic sound waves, 100 times stronger than the blast of a jet engine, would be driven into the ocean bottom to detect oil deposits.

They, big oil, are proposing 300,000 square miles of testing with seismic force from Virginia to the Florida line. Seismic sound waves are so strong that they will rip flesh from the bone of any animal caught in their beam.

The Bureau of Energy Management, a government entity I assume was originally designed to protect the interests of the public, estimates that it will only kill a couple of hundred thousand animals out there.

You want to bet against the possibility that they are wrong? That they are underestimating?

I can only remember the explanation of one of their spokesmen who assured me that the sea creatures would detect the approaching vessel and simply swim away.

Where is the moral justice in destroying 200,000 animals if that is truly all that will die. Animals like endangered right whales, who bear their young right here off the Georgia coast.

We haven’t touched on the subject of what "sonic sea" means.

That’s all about the fact that our oceans and virtually all marine life survives with the element of sound.

Interrupt that system and you can compare it to making everyone on earth immediately deaf and blind.

Seismic testing does exactly that. It completely destroys the system used by sea life to find food, ward off enemies, protect their young, mate and generally survive.

Now, please don’t just read this article and go about life as usual.

Get involved.

Learn about where you live.

Call and write your political representatives. Make your own decisions but make them on the facts and not rhetoric.

Maybe this was an article about vultures after all.

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