Savannah Morning News
April 3, 2019
By Savannah Morning News
U.S. Rep. Buddy Carter (R-Ga.) on Wednesday requested that Georgia be excluded from offshore energy plans until the concerns of the legislature are addressed.
This comes after the Georgia House of Representatives passed a resolution opposing offshore energy exploration.
Resolutions opposing offshore drilling and seismic testing have been moving through state and local governments, including a resolution that passed unanimously recently in Pooler.
Carter, who began his political career on Pooler’s city council and served as mayor from 1996 to 2004 before being elected to the Georgia house and then senate, had been unswayed by the opposition from his adopted hometown. Carter’s congressional district encompasses all the coastal counties.
“I continue to support an all-of-the-above energy policy,” he said in an email in March. “It is irresponsible to not at least see what is out there off the coast.”
In January 2018, the Trump administration announced its plans to open nearly all U.S. waters, including Georgia’s coast, to offshore drilling activities. Seismic testing, which poses a risk to marine life by using loud air blasts to map for oil under the sea floor, could begin later this year.
Pooler was the 14th Georgia municipality to pass a resolution against offshore drilling. Tybee, Savannah, Thunderbolt and Richmond Hill are among the others. Gov. Brian Kemp also opposes offshore drilling and seismic testing for Georgia. Over 340 municipalities on both the East and West coasts oppose the expansion of oil and gas activities off their shores.
In a letter to Acting Secretary of the Department of the Interior David Bernhardt, Carter wrote, “As the representative of the First District of Georgia, I was elected to represent the entire coast of our state and to be their voice in Washington.
“As you know, the issue of offshore energy exploration off the Atlantic Coast has been raised, first by the Obama administration and now by the Trump administration. This is of great interest to the residents in the First District of Georgia as proposed plans have included opening the waters off our coast for possible energy exploration and development.
“I understand the benefits that have been realized for local economies and tourism industries on the Gulf Coast due to offshore energy. I also understand the importance of offshore energy to an all-of-the-above energy strategy that is critical for our national defense as well as in our efforts to lower energy costs for Americans.
“While I will continue to be an ardent supporter of American energy independence, I believe that the will of our state and local communities must be respected in a decision of this magnitude. That is why I want to bring to your attention a resolution that overwhelmingly passed in the Georgia House of Representatives this week opposing offshore energy development off Georgia’s coast. The resolution passed in the legislature this week was preceded by the approval of resolutions opposing offshore energy development by several municipalities.
“Elected representatives of Georgia have voted, and I believe that the federal government should respect the people of Georgia to make this critical decision for themselves. That is why I write today to request that Georgia be excluded from offshore energy plans until the concerns of the legislature are addressed.
“I hope you will recognize the will of our state and local communities and make the appropriate changes to exclude Georgia moving forward.”