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An open letter to Rep. Buddy Carter
Roy Hubbard

Dear Rep. Buddy Carter:

On one of your recent visits to Richmond Hill I provided you with a DVD and some accompanying literature regarding the practice of seismic testing in ocean waters to detect oil deposits. There is a covert movement by big oil to bring seismic testing to the continental shelf on the Georgia coast.

I am hopeful that by now you have found the time to review the material provided. The DVD, entitled “The Sonic Sea” addresses the fact that the occupants of the ocean, the animal life, depend almost one hundred percent on sound and sound waves to survive.

Seismic testing destroys that ability. At the very least it bursts ear drums, drowns out animal sound waves better known as “echo location” used, among other things, to locate food,  each other and natural enemies. Seismic testing seriously hampers, if not completely destroys, marine animals ability to navigate. Almost every aspect of marine animal life will be totally disrupted by the horrendous blast of seismic sound waves. The necessary actions of feeding, mating, protecting, defending, navigating, and just generally surviving will be greatly diminished to the point of expiration of some species.  

Seismic sound waves are literally 100,000 more powerful and louder than the blast of a jet engine. Seismic sound waves are capable of stripping flesh from the bone. Even the U.S. Government admits to estimates of hundreds of thousands of animals, sea life, being destroyed if the testing is done. Those estimates are low.

I have serious concerns after hearing rumors of Big Oil interests attempting to influence the Georgia vote with large campaign contributions when the subject of seismic testing comes to the political table.

Presently, President Obama has declared a moratorium on drilling for oil off the Georgia coast. That is nothing more than political double talk.
There would most probably not be any attempt to do any drilling for at least the next four to five years. The seismic testing comes first.

Representative Carter, the documentary “Sonic Sea” which I provided you, addresses the horrendous negative effect seismic testing would have on marine life. Additionally, it is necessary to factor in the potential disastrous results to the coastal-connected businesses that represent a multi-billion dollar industry and more importantly, the quality of life for coastal residents. The question of wantonly destroying millions of animals for greed is immoral and unethical.

Seismic testing is the immediate threat simply because it paves the way for drilling for oil. That is the greater and final threat. The entire coast of Georgia is unique in the world where the dynamics of near shore movement of water are concerned. We are not the Gulf of Mexico. Oil slicks from ruptured oil wells in the Gulf are dependent on very slow currents and surface winds to move and spread them. That is not the case on the coast of Georgia.   

Every 12 hours a phenomena occurs on the Georgia coast. We experience the highest tides south of Cape Cod. Every 12 hours we experience billions of tons of water flowing from the sea, at speeds of several knots per hour, running deep into our coastal estuaries and back out again. We experience tides that are seven to 10 feet, or more, on the Georgia coast when, in comparison, Charleston may have a two foot tide and Jacksonville, Fla experiences zero tides.

The Atlantic Bight is a curve in the Continental shelf with the entire coast of Georgia being located in the apex of that curve. That configuration creates a funneling effect, dumping billions of tons of water into our coastal marshlands twice a day in a massive rush. This is a phenomenon not experienced either to the north or south of our coastline, not in the Gulf of Mexico and certainly not on the plains of Texas!
Were there to be a ruptured oil well, which I would suggest is an inevitability, oil would literally encircle our barrier islands destroying all of those miles of beautiful pristine beaches and resident wild life. It would then fill our marshes, creeks and rivers.

Were the disaster to occur during an Equinox tide or an extremely high tide, oil could top roads, settle in people’s yards and wreak permanent havoc all the way past I-95.

Do the math. A ruptured oil well 40 miles out to sea with oil traveling with the natural current at three to five knots would inundate the coast of Georgia within 10 hours. You are not going to vacuum up oil in the Atlantic Ocean.

There is almost a continuous influence of north easterly winds and general flow of water from north to south along our coast. A ruptured oil well anywhere along the Carolina coast or northern portion of the coast of Georgia would affect the entire coast of Georgia.

Within another one to two hours the oil would have impacted our sounds, coated our marshes and tributaries and continued up stream polluting our rivers for several miles.

Then the tide would reverse.

Much of the crude would permanently settle in place with another wave of destruction washing back out across our marshes and sounds towards the sea on the outgoing tide. All this destruction so somebody can sell more petroleum to Russia and China?!

I don’t think so.

It may sound preposterous but a ruptured oil well off the Georgia coast could literally permanently destroy the entire coastline with a coating of crude oil.

I know the battle cry of “energy independence” sounds great.

I only question why the facts that we are actually reducing our demand for fossil fuels and the market for such fuels is moving to Europe and Asia are not both included in the discussion.

I would rather pay more for gas than allow the entire Georgia coast to become an oil slick no one can live on or near.

I vote NO to seismic testing and NO to oil wells in the Atlantic Ocean. My vote doesn’t count. The vote of our representation does.

Who represents me/us?

Rep. Carter, in my humble opinion, your position on this matter should be made public to your constituency post haste.

I hope your conclusions are simply that we cannot expose ourselves to the very real possibility of sacrificing so much for big oil profits. Your public stand against seismic testing and a promise of a NO vote from you and we can set aside those rumors of Big Oil influence in Georgia politics.

Respectfully Yours,
Roy Hubbard

Hubbard is a former Green Beret, conservative and local environmentalist.

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