Stop offshore seismic testing (copy)

A North Atlantic right whale swims with her calf in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of the United States near the border between Florida and Georgia. The use of sonic cannons to map the ocean floor identifying new oil and gas deposits pose real dangers for whales, fish and sea turtles. 

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Betty Reed is latest winner of the Golden Pen for her June 16 letter urging Lowcountry residents to oppose seismic testing for offshore oil and gas deposits.

In response to an earlier editorial, Ms. Reed formally registered her opposition with DHEC, which recently came out against the federal government issuing permits for offshore seismic testing. In her letter to the editor, she noted the potential threat to the ecological feature 80-100 miles off the coast known as the “Charleston Bump,” which creates an upwelling in the Gulf Stream and supports a wide variety of fish and other marine creatures.

She also recalled living near oil refineries in Pasadena, Texas, and the blight the industry caused along the coast, including “cleaning tar balls off my feet.”

Editorial: SC doesn't want or need offshore seismic testing

“I have been around the oil and gas industry most of my life,” she wrote. “ … I know firsthand how the industry works. I also know that it is a slippery slope to start seismic testing and exploration, which inevitably leads to a push for drilling, pipelines and refineries.”

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The promise of well-paying jobs, she said, was a hollow one because “I know full well that these jobs will be filled by experienced workers from Texas or Louisiana.”

Ms. Reed, who is married to obstetrician, compared seismic testing to amniocentesis for determining the viability of a fetus.

“Both carry unnecessary risks and both result in knowledge that leads to further action. So I ask: Why are we still considering this?”

The Golden Pen is awarded monthly, and winners are invited to an annual luncheon with the editorial staff.