As usual, the political flood gates have opened during the week that most Gullah/Geechee families are focused on insuring that their land taxes are paid on time so that they continue to have a place to live. Focusing on not getting displaced used to come in the form of the influx of people moving in to set up more tourist attractions and gated areas. Now, it also includes environmental issues brought on not only via climate change dynamics such as sea level rise, but those that humans want to create including more overbuilding and offshore drilling.
In the latter case, Beaufort County Planning Staff have denied building permits for Bay Point because it is clear that this project is NOT ecotourism.
Yet, the destructioneers involved with this project are still going before the county board of zoning appeals on Wednesday, January 15 at 9:30 a.m. at the Beaufort County Government Robert Smalls Complex Community Development Office, Room 115 100 Ribaut Road, Beaufort, SC to argue their point. Almost 3000 Gullah/Geechee Sea Island Coalition supporters have signed a petition in opposition to this destructionment (http://chng.it/gcmmgqFq) and they are encouraged to sign up here to attend the meeting on Wednesday:
Right after this hearing last year, the General Assembly passed a provision in the state’s budget that blocks state permits for the onshore infrastructure for offshore drilling—things like refineries and oil terminals. That provision expires this year.
A new bill from Senator Chip Campsen of Charleston, SC would make that prohibition permanent, and a key subcommittee will hold a public hearing Wednesday on the bill, Senate Bill 870. Supporters are encouraged to comment at this link provided by Gullah/Geechee Sustainability Think Tank member, the SC Coastal Conservation League:
We MUST keep the pressure on to keep the oil in the ground and #StoptheDrill! As we continue our stand together, we are definitely making progress even in the courts. We received a court decision that is part of the ongoing lawsuit that the Gullah/Geechee Fishing Association and Gullah/Geechee Nation are a part of against seismic surveys. This lawsuit was filed by 19 South Carolina coastal towns and cities, numerous, environmental groups, SC Attorney General Alan Wilson and 10 states.
U.S. District Judge Richard Gergel ruled last Friday that the U.S. Commerce Department has 45 days to turn over records relating to its decision-making process for approving offshore seismic permits. This means the National Marine Fisheries Service and the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration have to disclose emails, memos, attachments and other communications to document how and why they arrived at the decision to issue five Incidental Harassment Authorizations.
An IHA allows seismic companies to “take”, i.e. injure, harm or kill, a certain number of marine animals. The combined totals approved by NMFS and NOAA for the five companies could potentially impact millions of whales, dolphins, sea turtles and other creatures. These types of massive environmental harms will no doubt have negative impacts on our quality of life in the Gullah/Geechee Nation. So, we continue to work with SODA to keep pressure on elected officials to place a permanent moratorium on seismic and drilling in the Atlantic. and our other coastal partners to stop seismic gun testing and offshore drilling.