Business Alliance For Protecting The Atlantic Coast
Ron Littlepage: Seismic testing off Florida coast is a dumb idea
August 1, 2017 - By: - In: In The News - Comments Off on Ron Littlepage: Seismic testing off Florida coast is a dumb idea

August 1, 2017
The Florida Times Union
By: Ron Littlepage

The wicked witch refuses to die.

The Obama Administration pushed for seismic testing, a prerequisite for oil and gas drilling, in the Atlantic Ocean off the U.S. East Coast.

That proposal stopped at Georgia and didn’t include Florida, but the harmful effects on sea life would have reverberated here.

Loud opposition was able to stop that madness.

Let’s be clear about what seismic testing is.

Air guns on ships would blast sounds into the ocean water column and sea floor and study the sound waves to find deposits of oil and gas.

Those blasts, which can be heard 2,500 miles away, would take place every 12 seconds and continue for months at a time.

All kinds of sea life would be negatively impacted, including fish, whales, dolphins and sea turtles.

And one study has found that the seismic testing would kill zooplankton, the basic building block of the ocean food chain.

Why would any sane administration want to do this?

Domestic production of oil and gas in the United States is already soaring.

Oceana, a group that works to protect the world’s oceans, used government estimates to conclude that if all of the recoverable oil and gas on the Atlantic Ocean’s Outer Continental Shelf were extracted and used, oil demand would only be met for 132 days at current consumption rates and gas demand for 283 days.

Gambling with the health of the Atlantic Ocean off Florida’s coast is even more ridiculous.

The recoverable fossil fuel off our east coast would only last for two days at current consumption rates.

Again, why do it?

The oil and gas industry knows the future lies in renewable energy sources. They are trying to squeeze out every bit of profit before a changing world leaves them behind.

An additional problem with the seismic testing is it’s the first step to drilling off Florida’s Atlantic Coast, which is the Trump Administration’s ultimate goal for both there and Florida’s Gulf Coast.

We all remember what happened with the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. We would be facing future disasters of that same magnitude.

Combined, seismic testing and any future offshore drilling could cost Florida billions of dollars in lost revenues with the fishing, tourism and recreation industries taking big hits.

U.S. Rep. John Rutherford, our former sheriff, deserves credit for helping lead an effort in Congress to stop the seismic testing.

That bipartisan effort includes more than 100 members of Congress.

“While future offshore drilling activities in the Atlantic would put our communities at risk down the road, seismic testing threatens our fragile coastal economies today,” Rutherford said in a news release.

“Our coastal economy should not be put at undue risk at a time when our booming oil and gas production is more than enough to meet our current energy needs.”

Dozens of local governments in Florida have passed resolutions opposing the seismic testing, including those in our Beaches communities.

Jacksonville City Council, however, has been absent, as has Gov. Rick Scott. It’s time for both the council and Scott to get onboard.

It may be hard for them to oppose something the Trump administration favors, but it will be even more difficult for them to explain why they were silent when the waters and sea life off our coasts were harmed by a scheme to make money that doesn’t make economic or environmental sense.

People can step in where the council and Scott haven’t by telling the Trump administration what they think about offshore drilling here: