All On Georgia

Congressman Carter demands meeting in Coastal Georgia on offshore drilling

Congressman Earl L. “Buddy” Carter (R-GA-01) announced last week his demand that the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) schedule a public hearing in Coastal Georgia to answer questions and provide further details about the Trump Administration’s offshore energy leasing plan.

According to the plan, more than 90 percent of the nation’s Outer Continental Shelf acreage available for oil and gas drilling.

The picture is the BOEM map that is proposed to be part of the offshore drilling plan. Coastal GA is considered as part of the South Atlanta region of the proposed plan.

Public input is being sought at hearings around the country before the OCS Program is finalized in 2019. Federal law requires the Secretary of the Interior, who oversees BOEM, to get public input, assess environmental impacts, and indicate the size, timing, and location of leases that he deems would best meet national energy needs for the five-year period following program approval.

Carter made the same request under the Obama Administration when Georgia was included in the administration’s 5-year oil and gas leasing proposal.

Carter, R-Ga., continues to support what he calls an “all of the above” energy strategy that includes offshore drilling and exploration.

“While I applaud the Trump Administration for moving forward with a plan to increase America’s energy independence, I am committed to ensuring any moves are made in the best interest of the First District,” said Carter. “This starts with having an open and honest discussion here on the coast where Coastal Georgians can ask questions and let their voices be heard. I will absolutely be helping to facilitate this meeting and I will stay in contact with BOEM until it happens.”

Currently, there are plans to meet and provide public input about the offshore drilling in Atlanta at the State Capitol on February 28th which is roughly a four to six-hour drive from residents in Coastal Georgia.

Earlier this week, the State of Florida was considered exempt to any offshore drilling discussions after Florida Governor Rick Scott sent communication about the economic impact it would have on Florida’s tourism industry. Some states have suggested that Florida is getting a pass along with other coastal states. However, Georgia was not considered as one of those possibly exempt states.

Governor Nathan Deal expressed his concerns on Wednesday about opening Georgia’s pristine coastline to offshore drilling. Georgia’s coastal line and coastal economy also benefit from ocean-related commerce, heavy tourism in hotels, and commercial fishing.

Twenty-three federal public hearings will be held around the country starting next week. A separate virtual meeting for those who cannot attend in person is being developed. Comments can also be submitted online.

To submit comments and find more information about the proposal and the OCS Program, including maps, see www.boem.gov/National-Program/ .