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Call your congressman to save coast

Guest column

POSTED: November 29, 2017 6:00 p.m.
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Roy Hubbard is a retired former Green Beret. He lives in Richmond Hill

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I am not a Democrat or a Republican. I am deeply disappointed in both parties. The Democrat Party is not the party of Roosevelt and the Republican Party is not the party of Reagan.

This is not intended as a politically motivated hit piece. It is an attempt to impress upon readers that coastal Georgia residents are not being represented in Atlanta or Washington concerning a matter that should be of grave concern to all.

There was a recent newspaper article titled "Military drills conflict with Georgia offshore drilling.

The problem I have with that heading is that it should have read, "Proposed Georgia offshore drilling conflicts with military training." The very necessary military training is already being conducted, has been for years, and is an integral part of our national defense. God bless the United States Navy.

The Department of Defense’s assessment of planned offshore drilling for oil on the Georgia coast indicates that, "It would threaten national security."

Reference is made to submarine exercises, live ordnance training, air to air missile training, etc. These observations come from U.S. Fleet Forces Command and specifically people like Navy Capt. Joe Bouchard, former member of the National Security Council and commander of Naval Station Norfolk.

I would not try to tell Rembrandt how to paint, but Buddy Carter is prepared to do just that. As soon as Rep. Carter became aware of the article, he reacted defensively and most revealingly. His response was that this information was not new to him. He acted as if it was a direct attack on his efficiency. He emphasized that his office had known of this issue for a long period of time. He stated that "It was disingenuous that this information was reported when his office and he had been discussing the issue with the DOD for more than a year."

What is true is Mr. Carter’s apparent concern that this information was provided to his constituency. Since Buddy Carter is lock, stock and barrel in favor of drilling for oil off the Georgia Coast, I can understand his frustration when such a serious issue is aired in a local paper. The DOD simply said, "We don’t want you drilling. Training on the coast of Georgia is too important and there is really nowhere else to move it."

The coast of Georgia is truly unique. The same features that make it a perfect training ground, especially for submarine warfare, is the same reason it makes a perfect location to drill for oil, thousands of square miles of shallow water.

There are hundreds of East Coast municipalities, including Hinsville, Savannah and Tybee Island, that have expressed formal opposition to offshore drilling. My community, Richmond Hill, has yet to address the issue. Seven East Coast states have registered formal opposition to such activities, Georgia is not included!

The list of those formally in opposition to seismic testing, and subsequent drilling for oil also includes alliances representing more

than 41,000 businesses and 500,000 fishing families from Florida to Maine. The political representatives of those states are listening to their voters. That’s not the case with Georgia.

Unfortunately HB 4239 has already quietly passed out of committee and has gone to the House of Representatives in Washington for a vote. The bill is designed to protect seismic testing and drilling for oil by congressional approval. I guess I missed that bit of information in Carter’s flowery emails.

Carter stated that he did not believe that the big oil activities off of our coastline would affect the training missions out of Kings Bay and that he, "has been working to ensure that does not happen."

My God. I had no idea that a junior representative to the House had such power as to orchestrate not only the activities of big oil but the activities of the Department of Defense.

DOD annual spending amounts to a ball park $65 billion from Virginia to Florida. In addition, there are jobs and more than $95 billion in gross domestic product that relies on the ecosystems and marine habitat of the North Atlantic Coast. All are threatened by seismic testing and the eventual blowout of an oil well (not if, but when).

When that oil well erupts and sends waves of deadly crude washing across our estuaries, carried by our exceptionally high semi-diurnal tides, right past I-95, I wonder what our political representatives will say? Will they deny ever having supported drilling?

Unfortunately Mr. Carter, after his "fact finding mission" to the Gulf of Mexico under what might well have been the careful guidance and generosity of big oil, seems to have decided to ignore the concerns of the people he is supposed to be representing.

It appears that all of our representatives to both houses of Congress in D.C. have the same mind set along with our representation to the Georgia State House and Senate.

Georgia’s coast is ground zero for drilling because, unlike any other east coast shoreline, we have a continental shelf that reaches out over 80 miles before it drops off into the ocean depths. That represents about 8,000 square miles of easily accessible ocean floor to drill for oil.

Big oil has already insisted that they be allowed to come in as close as the three mile limit.

Bear in mind that it would be any country drilling, not just US companies. Incidentally, rupture an oil well and watch the sludge carry along with the mighty Gulf Stream moving north at three to five knots an hour. The North Atlantic is the roughest body of water on the surface of the globe. It is like a giant washing machine out there. The Gulf of Mexico is a fish pond in comparison.

Any effort you make to question your political representatives regarding this pending fiasco will be met with, if anything more than a placating form letter, assurances that all is well and under control. The big oil marketing slogan of "Energy Independence" will be applied.

The future of this country does not rest on big oil putting the entire eastern seaboard in danger, destroying a multi-billion dollar tourist and commercial fishing industry so they can produce more product to sell overseas.

You have the power to protest and you have the power of the vote. Use your powers. Let your voice be heard: www.boem.gov/Public-Engagement-Opportunities, www.usa.oceana.org.

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