Congressman Rice writes letter opposing seismic blast-testing off S.C. coast

Congressman Rice writes letter opposing seismic blast-testing off S.C. coast
Seismic blasting ship (Source: North Carolina Coastal Federation)

WASHINGTON, D.C. (WMBF) – Congressman Tom Rice voiced his opposition again to seismic blast-testing off the South Carolina coast.

He sent a letter to the Secretary of Commerce, Wilbur Ross, on Tuesday about the issue. It comes after The Post and Courier reported that WesternGeco, the company wanting to conduct seismic blast-testing for oil and natural gas, asked Ross to disregard South’s Carolina rejection of the plans.

“The objections of the people of South Carolina to seismic testing proposals should not be disregarded,” Rice wrote in the letter. “Every coastal community in the state, and Governor Henry McMaster, are strongly opposed to seismic blast-testing.”

Seismic blast-testing is the process where a large ship drags a loud acoustic array and will shoot off guns every ten seconds, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The seismic is meant to help geologists map the oil and gas reserves underneath the surface of the ocean.

But the seismic blasting comes at the cost of marine life.

Back in July, the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control wrote a letter to WesternGeco, halting the testing within three miles of the South Carolina coast.

DHEC also collected more than 1,7000 comments from concerned citizens who are overwhelmingly opposed to offshore seismic blast-testing.

“The adverse coastal effects of seismic blast-testing and the risks associated with it are considerable and the national benefits are negligible at this time,” Rice wrote.

WesternGeco wants to test from Virginia to the Georgia border. It’s also asking Ross to disregard North Carolina’s rejection of the plans.

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