oppose offshore drilling

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.

  Editor's Note: This story also appeared at SavannahNow.com. Image: Deepwater Horizon Fire - April 22, 2010 courtesy of the US Coast Guard via SkyTruth Galleries on Flickr (CC). Source: www.incidentnews.gov/incident/8220
David Kyler

David Kyler

David Kyler is the co-director of the Center for a Sustainable Coast, a non-profit membership organization he co-founded in 1997. The Center works to protect, preserve, and sustain the vital natural, cultural, and economic resources of coastal Georgia.

One of David’s deepest convictions, and a founding principle of the Center, is that environmental research, scientific information, and public involvement are urgently needed to improve decisions affecting the sustainability of natural systems. Accordingly, the Center’s slogan is “Advocating responsible decisions to sustain coastal Georgia’s environment and quality of life.”

To pursue the Center’s mission, Kyler gives priority to raising public awareness about issues affecting coastal Georgia at all levels – from local to state and national, to global. He frequently publishes letters and opinion columns in Georgia newspapers, often commenting on controversial issues that require improving the analysis and coordination of both economic and environmental considerations.

In the past three years alone, on behalf of the Center David has published close to one-hundred commentaries on a range of issues, including offshore drilling, protecting Cumberland Island National Seashore, risks of contamination by coal ash and other toxic materials, coastal development controls, and conflicts between environmental protection and economic development practices.

In the past decade, under Kyler’s influence, the Center has been one of the few Georgia non-profit organizations persistently voicing alarm about the global climate crisis and the urgent need to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions. In 2018 and 2019 the Center hosted several public forums on climate issues in the Savannah area and collaborated with the Climate Reality Project in organizing a rally in Savannah, scheduled to be coordinated with the international Climate Strike.

Through his work with the Center, David is helping to redefine economic self-interest by incorporating the principles of sustainability in public policies governing both economic development and environmental protection. He is convinced that systemic analysis and life-cycle assessment, including thorough evaluation of economic and societal externalities, are essential to responsible environmental stewardship.

He holds degrees from Lehigh University (BS, Industrial Engineering) and Southern Illinois University (MS, Design Science), and has completed advanced studies in Resource Management and Policy at the State University of New York at Syracuse. Mr. Kyler has worked in environmental policy analysis, regional planning, and public-interest advocacy for over 40 years. He’s been a resident of Saint Simons Island since 1977 and grew up in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.