Date: September 13, 2016
From: Business Alliance for Protecting the Atlantic Coast
Contact: Frank Knapp, South Carolina Small Business Chamber of Commerce, 803-252-5733
(w), 803-600-6874 (c), firstname.lastname@example.org
Tim O’Brien, International Game Fish Association, 434-466-2936,
BAPAC wants to ensure the long term health and economic vitality of the Atlantic seaboard through responsible stewardship of the coastal and ocean waters. The Alliance will use the collective strength of businesses from Maine to Florida to oppose all potential threats to economic vitality- jobs, public health, and environment- of the Atlantic coastal states.
Over 7,000 businesses were represented by those attending the meeting.
Seismic testing is a highly dangerous process that uses intense airgun blasting to send extremely loud sound waves miles below the seafloor in a hunt for oil deposits. One seismic testing vessel can tow up to 96 airguns which can cover an area 21 times larger than the National Mall in Washington. The loud blasts, which can be heard for thousands of miles, are repeated every 10-12 seconds creating one of the loudest noises in the oceans. Seismic testing under just one lease can go on for up to an entire year. The federal government is considering permitting multiple leases.
In March of this year, the federal government reversed course on its plan to allow Mid- and South-Atlantic offshore drilling for oil and gas in response to overwhelming opposition from local governments, businesses and residents. However, the issuing of seismic testing permits follows a separate regulatory process and is still moving forward. Industry is pushing for permission to conduct seismic surveys because they want to put drilling in the Atlantic back on the table.
Along the Atlantic coast, nearly 1.4 million jobs and over $95 billion in gross domestic product—mainly through fishing, tourism and recreation—rely on a healthy ocean ecosystem.
The biological damage seismic airgun blasting inflicts on marine life—fish, invertebrates, whales, dolphins, and sea turtles—is a serious economic danger to businesses that need these healthy ocean resources. Local coastal economies that depend on healthy oceans for related tourism activities and commercial fishing will be negatively impacted for years, and if seismic testing is allowed to open the door to offshore drilling, the Atlantic coast could change forever.
BAPAC will be gathering business signatures in support of its advocacy efforts and expects to meet with Department of Interior officials, members of Congress, and the White House on the issue.
“Seismic testing is not a high profile issue like offshore drilling,” said Frank Knapp, President and CEO of the South Carolina Small Business Chamber of Commerce that organized the meeting. “But it is the destructive demon seed that grows up into the deservedly-feared offshore drilling. Atlantic coast businesses will not let that seed be planted just so seismic testing companies can reap millions in profits from the oil industry.”
“Our coastal recreational fisheries are vital to our coastal communities,” said Tim O’Brien, representative of the International Game Fish Association. “Seismic testing will diminish our catches and deplete our valuable resource with far-reaching, negative economic impacts.”
“Endangering the economic well-being of coastal businesses and communities by allowing seismic airgun testing—a destructive process to obtain data that oil companies hope will open the Atlantic back up to drilling—must be stopped,” said Karen Brown, President and CEO of the Outer Banks Chamber of Commerce.
“Tourists come to the Atlantic coast because of our ocean, bays, marshes and tidal waters,” said Matt Gamble, Nature Adventures Outfitters in Mt. Pleasant, SC. “Our customers expect to see healthy and plentiful marine life. Without that our businesses will suffer.”
“Tourism is the lifeblood of our coastal hotel and restaurant businesses that not only support our local economies but also our state governments through sales tax,” said Vicki Clark, President of the New Jersey Tourism Industry Association and Cape May County Chamber of Commerce. “Anything that threatens our industry must be strenuously opposed.”
“Clean beaches and waters benefit us all and is major draw for our economy on the Grand Strand,” saidSandra Bundy, B&P Real Estate in Murrells Inlet, SC.
“The extraction of fossil fuels comes at an unnecessary risk and high price to our communities, ecosystems, and climate. It is a price that, increasingly, our people are not willing to pay,” said Jacob Oblander, of the Savannah Riverkeeper representing its 80 business members. “There is no need to explore additional oil fields in a market that is moving away from oil and a nation that is capable of securing alternative sources of energy. Seismic testing paves the way for an expansion of fossil fuels that we are firmly against.”
“We have taken an important step towards our economic and environmental vitality along the Atlantic Coastal states to support the voices of local communities that have made great strides in protecting our livelihoods and shared business interests by opposing the industrialization of our coastlines,” said Laura Habr, Vice President of the Virginia Beach Restaurant Association.