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Response to letters on oil exploration
Letter to the editor
The News welcomes letters to the editor. Email for details. - photo by Stock photo

Editor: It was refreshing to see folks responding to my comments about the perils of seismic testing and subsequent drilling for oil off the Georgia coast.

It was stated in someone’s letter that the BOEM considered over 800,000 solicited comments in forming their draft proposal to provide oil leases. It would be nice if those comments could be made public. Wonder why they haven’t if the comments support the position to drill?

Just asking.

I would think that if thousands of people in Georgia were to contact Governor Deal with their objections, the coast of Georgia would suddenly cease to be a prospective target for oil speculators. When you get those kinds of numbers in response to a questionnaire, you have upset a lot of people. They are called voters.

The governor of Florida saw a threat to his political future demonstrated in the uprising of the people against seismic testing and drilling for oil. All of a sudden big oil’s battle cry of "Energy Independence", with threats of a collapse of our national security followed by the sky falling seemed unimportant. The governor’s political career took precedence.

Florida was marginally in favor of Trump. I would say that the removal of Florida proves that the government and big oil are quite sure there could be catastrophic damage.

Can anyone explain to me why Georgia is the only state on the Eastern Seaboard that has not officially protested seismic testing? Hundreds of communities and hundreds of thousands of people are against seismic testing and drilling for oil off the Atlantic Coast. That is a lot of votes President Trump. Just saying.

It was stated in one letter that the BOEM has said that there is no chance of injury to marine life. Must have been that same guy who told me the fish would see the ship coming and swim away! What the government actually said was that there would be probably around 138,000 animals injured or killed and another 13 million suffering different levels of disruption in migrating, feeding, reproduction and other behavioral patterns. The real fact of the matter is, we have no idea what the extent of damage can be. We just know there will be damage.

The project includes a six month time span, 300,000 square miles of coastline, an area twice the size of California, with horrendous explosions of sound driven thru the water deep into the ocean floor every few seconds 24/7. Those are some of the facts I assume the folks writing the Letters to Ed are seeking.

It was stated in another letter there are no statistics showing that seismic testing is dangerous to right whales. That would be correct.

Fact: There has never been any modern seismic testing done to any degree around right whales and their migration paths to generate any statistics.

The whales migrate back and forth between Florida and Nova Scotia for a large part of the year. Whales have a year of gestation and four months starting about December to bear their young here off the coast of Georgia.
No one is sure of where a large part of the population is during the winter when the females are giving birth. It seems impossible for the seismic test ships to direct their activities in such a way as to avoid the whales. It is an inarguable fact that seismic testing has killed other whales and other forms of marine life where it has been used. Don’t get stuck on just whales. Those same explosions of sound have a negative effect on the very base of the food chain, phytoplankton and zooplankton. There are only a few hundred Right whales left. Where do they fit in with that 138,000 number?

It was suggested that my statement defining the Atlantic Ocean as probably the roughest body of water in the world was in error. It was pointed out that the North Sea could be rougher. The North Sea happens to be part of the Atlantic Ocean! They have their own issues with oil wells.

There is ongoing research into the effects of oil leaks and other chemical discharges involved in the process in the North Sea area.

It is not good to try and compare our coast to any other distant shores. By almost every measure all the dynamics are different. Subsequently seismic testing and drilling for oil can easily have different properties coming into play on our coast and the entire Atlantic seaboard as opposed to other parts of the world.

It was stated, by a gentleman with diving experience in the Gulf, that the oil rigs in the Gulf provide a base for fisheries. That is true. I’ve done a little diving myself. Underwater Demolition Training (UDT).
The statistics surrounding the fish population in the Gulf were generated many years ago, pre Deep Water Horizon.

I am not sure how any of that applies to seismic testing and drilling for oil in the Atlantic off the Georgia coast.

We are not the Gulf. The Gulf doesn’t have Gray’s Reef, a very large National Marine Sanctuary just off our shoreline. The Gulf is not the birthing ground for right whales. The Gulf does not have the Gulf Stream!

One of the greatest fears of big oil was that the sludge from Deep Water Horizon would manage to float out to the Gulf Stream that begins in the mouth of the Gulf. Once captured by the Gulf Stream, it could have gone to the Keys and around the tip of Florida. It could have slid right up the east coast carried by the powerful Gulf Stream at several knots per hour. The fact that the Gulf of Mexico has little or no tide or current and only whatever wind and wave action was present effected the movement of the sludge. Not the case on the Georgia coast. Elevations, tidal ranges, extreme currents and various other things come into play here on our coast that are not evident in the Gulf.

The person who first brought to my attention that fish populations group around oil rigs was a world renownrf diver and marine conservationist, the grandson of Jacque Cousteau, Fabien Cousteau. That was many years ago. It will take more up to date research to determine how the fish stocks around the Gulf oil rigs have been affected by the Deep Water Horizon disaster. We do know that the dolphin population is declining. Their numbers are down about 50 percent since the Deep Water Horizon disaster.

That is huge! The Dolphins were there because the fish were there. It’s really just common sense. Oil and marine life does not mix.

Letters stated that Buddy Carter cares about the coast etc. I am sure that is the truth. I am confident that as soon as he avails himself of the facts from sources other than big oil he will reassess his position on the subject. As perhaps, will Senator Perdue.

Are we to continue to ignore the Department of Defense position that seismic testing and subsequent drilling for oil would interrupt very important naval training that has beenconducted off the Georgia coast for many years? DOD has officially expressed their objections to the testing.

Stop the insanity! Write, call, e-mail your representative to the State House and to the Congress of the United States.

Those folks count votes.

Roy Hubbard

Richmond Hill

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