Date: December 20, 2016
From: Business Alliance for Protecting the Atlantic Coast (BAPAC)
Contact: Frank Knapp, BAPAC Co-Founder, 803-252-5733 (O), 803-600-6874 (c), firstname.lastname@example.org
Washington, DC—The over 35,000 businesses and 500,000 commercial fishing families of the Business Alliance for Protecting the Atlantic Coast (BAPAC) are disappointed that President Obama has not banned offshore drilling along the entire Atlantic Coast.
“The good news is that the waters off of Virginia and north are largely protected from offshore drilling,” said Frank Knapp, co-founder of BAPAC and president/CEO of the South Carolina Small Business Chamber of Commerce. “That bad news is that this area represents far less than 10 percent of the total Atlantic Coast area oil companies might want to drill in the future. The coastal communities from North Carolina down to Florida are still at risk for the devastation of seismic testing and drilling for oil. And the coastal communities from Virginia on up are still at risk for the oil that will inevitably be spilled from drilling. This is very disappointing.”
In March after much pressure from local governments, businesses, conservation groups and citizen organizations the Obama Administration reversed course on its plans to allow offshore drilling along the Mid and South-Atlantic coast from 2017-2022. This decision did not address the issuing of seismic airgun blasting permits to search for oil deposits.
“Permits for the destructive seismic airgun blasting could be issued any day now by the Administration,” said Knapp. “Every coastal community in North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia and even in Florida are now at risk for the negative impact of this process on our tourism, recreation and commercial fishing.”
Seismic airgun testing is a dangerous process that blasts extremely loud sound waves miles below the seafloor in a hunt for oil deposits. One seismic vessel can tow up to 96 airguns that can cover an area 21 times larger than the National Mall in Washington DC. These blasts are repeated every 10-12 seconds and can be heard for thousands of miles and creating one of the loudest noises in the oceans. Seismic testing under just one approved permit can go on for up to an entire year. The Administration is currently reviewing a half dozen of these permits that would allow for the exploration of the same area over and over again by different companies.
“It is a shame that the tremendous opposition to offshore drilling by the people, businesses and local officials of the entire Atlantic Coast largely had no influence on the Administration’s decision today. Most of the area that is now banned from offshore drilling was never going to be drilled anyway. As a result, the tens of thousands of supporters of the Business Alliance for Protecting the Atlantic Coast will continue to fight against both seismic testing and offshore drilling,” said Knapp.