Editor: I am a retired Navy Master Chief Petty Officer who has sailed across two of our planets oceans and enjoyed seeing the beauty of marine wildlife.
I am also a long time SCUBA diver and fisherman, and have often dived and fished around oil rigs, which are always abundant with plants and fish. I love our oceans and waterways. And I sincerely believe that technology has advanced to the point where off shore oil drilling can be done in an environmentally safe and responsible way.
I’ve seen claims that seismic testing, or the use of air guns, is extremely disruptive to marine life and causes harm to fish and some marine mammals, such as whales.
While several environmental groups in the area have put forth these claims as though they are backed up by studies, I found this to be the opposite.
The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management has actually stated that there is no scientific evidence that noise from air guns used in seismic testing has negative effects on animals.
Second, it appears that measures can be taken to prevent any harm to these creatures.
As whales migrate and use our area for calving, action can be taken to limit or prevent testing during this time period. A little further research shows that mitigation measures, such as minimum survey distances and closures of specific areas, have been used in the past.
If these measures have been used and have been effective, it seems plausible that the government would implement similar protections if Georgia is kept on the list.
Finally, it has been proven that fishing actually improves when artificial structures are present. All around the Gulf, fishermen are able to generate a living by taking people to fish off these platforms because of the marine life buildup.
A recent study by Louisiana State University found that much of the fishing in the state of Louisiana focuses on trips to these platforms, generating over 5,000 jobs and over $320 million annually.
This process of review will take a while and there’s a high chance that Georgia may not make it through the rounds to the final steps.
Buddy Carter has said in recent articles that he wants to ensure the coast is protected and the people are heard. While this is a passionate topic that is deserving of a more lengthy debate, let’s focus on the facts and numbers. As everyone knows, facts can be a pesky thing.