For many years, the Center for a Sustainable Coast has aggressively opposed proposals to drill for oil and gas in the Atlantic Ocean along Georgia’s coast.
Now resurrected by the Trump Administration, offshore drilling comes at a time when global supplies of fossil fuels are glutted and the U.S. is exporting more oil and gas than ever before. Yet, employment by fossil fuels is less than the number of jobs created by the development of clean energy, primarily solar and wind power.
Contrary to claims made by ill-informed or biased politicians, much of America’s offshore production of oil and gas — if it ever happens — will be destined for foreign markets. Therefore, such resources are not for “American energy independence” but rather intended to serve the profit motives of massive fossil-fuel corporations.
This means that coastal Georgia’s thriving tourism and outdoor recreation economy – worth about $2 billion annually and supporting some 40,000 jobs — would be jeopardized just to enable oil and gas companies to squeeze more profits by exploiting offshore reserves.
These reckless offshore activities, concurrent with rollbacks in regulated safety measures, would impose unacceptable risk to beaches, marshes, wildlife, and barrier islands. One only needs to recall the 2010 BP oil spill to conjure horrifying images that we must do everything possible to prevent occurring on Georgia’s coast.
Moreover, offshore oil and gas development along our shoreline would raise the specter of unprecedented industrialization of Georgia’s coast. Any such outcome would severely degrade our region’s quality-of-life and world-renowned natural environment. Allowing risky exploration and extraction of these resources is simply not in the interest of Georgia’s citizens and taxpayers.
Furthermore, demand for fossil fuels is projected to be declining, as many nations are actively developing electric vehicles. Additionally, many cities, including Atlanta, have adopted plans to eliminate the use of fossil fuels to reduce emission of climate-warming greenhouse gases. By the time any nearby offshore fossil fuels would be available — if they ever are — there would be greatly reduced need for these resources. It would be far more strategic to keep oil and gas in the ground for future use, if ever needed.
Accordingly, we encourage coastal Georgians to join us in actively opposing offshore drilling. We are submitting written comments to federal officials, explaining our well-reasoned, ample justifications for defeating the proposal in the public interest.