Environment

State Lawmakers Say They’re Against Offshore Oil Drilling In Ga.

The Trump Administration has proposed opening up much of the East Coast for oil exploration, and could be issuing permits soon for companies to begin seismic testing for oil.
The Trump Administration has proposed opening up much of the East Coast for oil exploration, and could be issuing permits soon for companies to begin seismic testing for oil.
Credit State Lands Commission via AP
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Offshore oil development would threaten tourism and fishing in Georgia; so says a bipartisan group of state lawmakers. They’ve introduced resolutions in the Georgia House and Senate against oil drilling – or even looking for oil – off the coast of Georgia.

The Trump Administration has proposed opening up much of the East Coast for oil exploration, and could be issuing permits soon for companies to begin seismic testing for oil.

Even the idea of those tests has drawn opposition from coastal communities, let alone the prospect of drilling – or the potential for an accident.

“My family comes from a little small town, and we were all shrimpers. I can’t imagine what an oil spill would have done to our family lives,” said Senator Lester Jackson, a democrat from Savannah who’s one of the sponsors of the senate resolution opposing offshore oil.

He was joined Wednesday in the Capitol rotunda by lawmakers from both sides of the aisle, from both houses, and from both the coast and metro Atlanta.

“As a people, we have come to realize this is a very unique and limited resource,” said Senator William Ligon, a Republican from Brunswick. “We don’t have a lot of coastline, and so we’re coming together to protect this valuable resource.”

The Senate resolution was introduced earlier this week; the House resolution was introduced last week.

Similar efforts didn’t go very far last year, but this year, lawmakers say, is different: While former Governor Nathan Deal never took a stance on offshore oil, Governor Brian Kemp has said he’s against it.

Either way, the decision is ultimately up to the federal government, but Georgia is not alone in its opposition. Attorneys general in ten East Coast states have joined a lawsuit against the federal government over offshore oil exploration.