Two recent items you published call me a mouthpiece for Big Oil and impugn my motives. Actually, I am shocked that you would print the Dec. 18 letter (“Say no to drilling”). It shows that you vet this stuff as well as the free-for-all on the Internet. Free speech, yes, but naming names and drawing conclusions based on presumptive conclusions is different and wrong.

I and my fellow state coordinator colleagues at Vets4Energy are unpaid volunteers who have had the honor of serving our country in uniform and are committed to trying to achieve energy independence, to include renewables such as wind and solar.

We recognize the need for energy conservation, energy efficiency and all forms of energy, but we also recognize the government’s Energy Information Agency projections that oil and gas will be required to meet more than 60 percent of our energy needs for decades, and we want to protect our nation from those who seek to harm us.

We do this because we’ve seen the horrors of combat, and trying to keep the availability of oil often requires our fellow future vets to engage in combat situations in places where our love for freedom and freedom of religion are not subscribed to and often hated. To us this is solely a matter of national security.

One author questions the statistics that I cited but does not do his homework to validate the sources. It is true that studies estimate 1.3 million barrels of oil per day, but those studies take this data point from the Obama administration’s own Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) projections. And these projections could underestimate what is available, because it is more than 30 years old, generated using outdated seismic survey technology.

New seismic surveys, which have been approved by BOEM, using the latest technology, need to be conducted to give us a true perspective of the available energy resources.

Further, I have yet to see any scientific proof to back up the baseless fear-mongering that the opponents of developing our offshore resources utilize. For example there’s no proof that the marine environment and mammals will be harmed by the use of air guns for exploring our offshore areas.

To the contrary, as I mentioned previously, even BOEM has publicly concluded that there is no such harm: “There has been no documented scientific evidence of noise from air guns used in geological and geophysical (G&G) seismic activities adversely affecting marine animal populations or coastal communities.” Additionally, regulations require that any exploitation must be conducted no closer than 50 miles from our coasts.

William Schachte Jr.

Rear Admiral, U.S. Navy (Ret.)

South Carolina State Chair, Vets4Energy

Broad Street

Charleston