Opening Georgia’s coast to seismic airgun blasting and offshore drilling would be a shortsighted mistake with irreversible consequences. Our state is home to 14 barrier islands and over 2,000 miles of coastline, all of which would face immediate danger if the Atlantic is opened to offshore drilling activities.
I moved to Savannah almost three years ago to work in Georgia’s coastal communities. My work is directly linked to a clean and healthy coast, as are the jobs of my colleagues. In fact, Georgia’s vibrant coastal resources support over 23,000 jobs and generate roughly 1.3 billion dollars in GDP. My family spends every chance we get exploring small beautiful towns like Midway, Sunbury and Darien. The picturesque settings and undeveloped landscapes always bring us serenity from an otherwise busy world. It’s no wonder coastal Georgia draws so many tourists every year – natural waterfront beauty is becoming rarer all the time.
Marine wildlife like the critically endangered North Atlantic right whale and loggerhead sea turtles need pristine waters to survive. Coastal Georgia provides critical habitat for the North Atlantic right whale, which comes to the area every winter to calve. Their only know calving grounds stretch from Florida to the Carolinas. Without a clean, healthy ocean here, the species could face extinction.
Dangerous offshore oil exploration and drilling threaten Georgia’s healthy marine environments, and the tourism, fishing and recreational industries that depend on a clean coast to thrive. That’s why Governor Brian Kemp stands with his Georgia constituents against offshore drilling activities. Governor Kemp said he “opposes oil and gas exploration off the Georgia coast”. Now, every single East and West Coast governor is unanimously opposed to selling our oceans off to the highest bidder and threatening our marine life and coastal communities along the way.
I would like to thank you, Governor Kemp, for caring about our Georgia coast. It is also important to thank the City of Midway, Mayor Clancy and City Council, for recently passing a resolution (approved December 10, 2018) to oppose offshore drilling and seismic testing. More than 10 municipalities, our local elected officials, small businesses and fishing families up and down the Georgia coast have all opposed attempts by the fossil fuel industry to change our beach towns into oil towns. It’s clear where Georgians from both political parties stand on the issue.
The growing opposition is bipartisan. President Trump needs to listen to state leaders and coastal communities. It’s time the administration reverses this radical plan to blast our wildlife and expand drilling in U.S. waters.
To learn more about the grassroots movement to stop offshore drilling and seismic testing visit StopTheDrill.org. Oceana is also part of Don’t Drill GA, a coalition of organizations from across Georgia working to protect our coast.
Georgia Campaign Organizer for Oceana