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Flabbergasted after reading the guest editorial about offshore drilling

  • Friday, November 15, 2013

  • Updated Friday, November 15, 2013 3:24 pm

I am flabbergasted after reading the guest editorial about offshore drilling in your November 7 edition.

If the writer of that piece was unidentified, one might guess that he was Bill Nye the Science Guy at one point; then maybe the U.S. Secretary of Energy or Commerce – but no, he is a Georgetown County Councilman – and my, isn’t he a walking Book Of Knowledge?

He states that “a recent survey determined that 77 percent of South Carolina voters are in favor of offshore drilling.” If that is so, he might also have mentioned that about 90% of those voters don’t rely on clean water and pristine beaches to make their living – because they do not live in the area that would be affected by this industry.

The writer also throws the word “we” around quite liberally: “WE are the logical place to be the center for exploration and extraction of natural gas and crude oil.” And “Due to the limitations on length of this article, I cannot get into much detail, but over the coming months WE plan on sharing much more information”. Who is “we”? Is the writer implying that he is to be involved in these activities? Is he an agent for these activities – an official of some sort?

Is he a spokesperson for Big Oil – or is he the County Councilman for Georgetown County District 6?

He goes on to predict that as many as 5000 new jobs will be created locally when this dream of his comes to fruition.

I might remind the writer that Georgetown County has been the victim of such hyberbolic rhetoric before. Circa 1980, a sham of a company named Carolina Refining proposed to build an oil refinery on the Sampit River in Georgetown. Local proponents promised several hundred jobs for the local economy and a state of the art facility.

Upon further scrutiny, it was discovered that hardly any of the listed directors of the firm had any experience in the oil business at all. In fact the company had never built or operated an oil refinery – or anything. In fact the company had first tried to build the same refinery in several other states to our north – and was rejected in each one. In fact the company had copied the blueprints for their project (precisely) from a refinery that had been closed four times for environmental violations in the Gulf of Mexico. In fact that refinery never employed anywhere near the amount of folks that local proponents promised – and only a small fraction of those jobs went to locals for manual labor positions.

The local politicians were ‘all in’ on that project and gushing like the Deepwater Horizon Spill about the positive impacts of the refinery once opened – until the real facts were discovered – and those clowns were sent packing.

Fast forward to the television ads of today touting “Clean Coal’ (there is no such thing) and the BP ads about their “commitment to the Gulf”. The truth about the poisonous impacts of coal powered plants and the negative impacts of the Gulf oil spill is that the public and the environment will be footing the bill for these activities for many generations to come.

Mr. Anderson makes light of these facts with his little science lesson about crude oil and natural gas being “compounds which are being released naturally into our environment every day.” Delusional logic.

Then he goes back to the “we” word again – “We will have to fight at every crossing for energy independence.”

Really Bob. Let me remind you of a speech that President Richard Nixon gave on November 7, 1973 during which he proclaimed “Let us set as our national goal, in the spirit of Apollo, with the determination of the Manhattan project, that by the end of this decade we will have developed the potential to meet our own energy needs without depending on any foreign energy sources.”

Nixon’s analysis was spot on. His call to action bold and concise. But President Nixon, along with every Administration, Congress and Senate over the forty years since he made those remarks has failed to act in that regard. In fact, our nation is now twice as dependent on foreign oil as we were when Nixon gave that speech.

I hardly think that a Georgetown County Councilman is a qualified candidate to change that record. Mr. Anderson (as a “technical guy”) would do well to note that there is enough natural gas (on land) in the USA to power our nation for generations – and that most of the things we burn crude oil to power can be converted to running on natural gas. In fact, most of the nation’s commercial truck fleets have already signed on to convert their vehicles as soon as the infrastructure is in place. Those fleets burn about 40% of the oil this country uses.

I have met Mr. Anderson – and I think he is a fine gentleman. I just think that he needs to focus on the real problems that are occurring now in this county. There are so many local issues within the realm of his job description, which should have been dealt with before now.

One of those issues is clean water – for now and the future. Coal burning power plants are poisoning our waters with mercury and other toxins. Stormwater runoff is poisoning our waters with petroleum derivatives (some of his “renewable resources”) and other toxins creating new chemical cocktails which are devastating the natural food chain from the bottom up. Perhaps he could turn his attention to these factual issues for the future betterment of our county.

These words are not the rantings of a “hard core environmentalist” – they are remarks that can be verified as facts. Mr. Anderson’s offshore drilling diatribe is nothing short of an extremely speculative projection of the oil and gas industry’s wish list for our area. The very same oil and gas industry that (through extensive lobbying and political contributions) has blocked any and all attempts at making our nation energy independent. They make record profits with their overseas investments – and we pay with ever higher prices at the pump.

Rick Baumann

Murrells Inlet


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