The federal government wants to allow exploration for oil and gas in the Atlantic Ocean off the South Carolina coast. Due to the huge and damaging effects of seismic testing and subsequent drilling for these resources, all of the communities along our coast have come out strongly against exploration and drilling.

Seismic airguns work by blasting extremely loud sound waves below the ocean floor, where they bounce back and are received by audio monitors. This helps characterize the local geology.

Negative impacts from seismic testing include effects on mating, feeding and communication for marine mammals, fisheries and sea turtles.

Our state’s fisheries and ocean-based tourism and recreation support nearly 79,000 jobs and generate over $7 billion in economic activity each year in South Carolina.

Onshore infrastructure that accompanies the offshore oil and gas industry like oil refineries, storage facilities, pipelines and other industrial activities poses a number of environmental and health related challenges for coastal communities.

Ultimately, offshore drilling and exploration pose threats to fisheries, estuaries, wetlands, marine mammals, shellfish and seabirds, as well as the quality of life enjoyed by our coastal communities.

Current estimates for reserves off the South Carolina coast equate to a six-day supply of oil and gas at current U.S. consumption rates. If all economically recoverable fossil fuel reserves were extracted for the entire East Coast, you could only meet current oil demand for 132 days and current gas demand for 283 days. There is a plethora of scientific data on these impacts that is also well documented in the BOEM assessment of seismic testing.

Let’s not let shortsighted greed cause lasting and terrible destruction of our beautiful coastline. Let your representative and our governor know how you feel about this issue.

And remember the Gulf oil spill — they said it would never happen yet the Gulf coast residents and the Gulf ecosystem are still feeling its terrible effects.

Meredith Russo

Naked Creek Lane

Bennettsville