Charleston Post and Courier
December 23, 2017
Our state senator, Stephen Goldfinch, has gone on record calling the opposition to seismic blasting and offshore drilling a “vocal minority” of “environmental zealots.”
So, in the senator’s view, every municipality and county on the South Carolina coast has been coerced by a liberal brand of fanatics who have taken environmentalism to a new level, bordering on a religion. This is exactly what the senator has told me.
This is delusional.
In addition to every municipality above described, Sen. Goldfinch has now defined the S.C. Small Business Chamber of Commerce in the same fashion — and the Business Alliance to Protect the Atlantic Coast. Neither of these are environmental organizations — but they both have studied the facts and come out against seismic testing and drilling.
Many other organizations have done likewise. The South Atlantic Fisheries Management Council, the Mid Atlantic Fisheries Management Council, the New England Fisheries Management Council, the Southern Shrimp Alliance, the International Gamefish Association, the Billfish Foundation, the Southeastern Fisheries Association and over 50 other commercial and recreational fishing entities. All have written to the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management to oppose seismic blasting and offshore drilling. And this is just a list of fishing organizations, none of which could be called “environmental,” much less “zealots.”
The senator loves to use buzz phrases and adjectives to describe the many constituents who disagree with his thinking. In desperation, he has gotten out his history book and gone back to the Nixon years to search for his own “silent majority.” Unfortunately for him, it has shown no evidence of existing.
There have been numerous periods of time allotted for public comment on these issues, and the comments are open for the public to review. The only comments that are pro-seismic testing and drilling are from Big Oil or supporting industries. The rest of the comments are from individuals, organizations and communities — all in opposition.
Not one citizens group, town, city or county spoke in favor of seismic blasting and offshore drilling — and with good reason. They were all lobbied heavily by industry spokesmen, but they chose to express their opposition rather than support. This is Goldfinch’s “vocal minority” of “environmental zealots.”
Goldfinch embarrassed himself with his mindset when he testified in Washington and again when he spoke to the ad hoc Committee on Offshore Drilling. His testimony to that committee was given after dozens of his constituents and many elected officials — including the mayors of Charleston, Beaufort and Folly Beach, several city and county councilmen and retired Sen. Bill Doar — had all spoken in opposition before him. Not one of Goldfinch’s constituents spoke in favor.
Once again, his “silent majority” was strangely absent at a critical time to speak out.
In his testimony to the ad hoc committee, Sen. Goldfinch spoke of his well-respected family’s long history in our area and then pontificated “I am the coast.”
No, sir, we are the coast. And the coast has spoken numerous times — loud and clear and unanimously: “Our coast is not for sale.”