In response to recent resistance to President Obama's plans to open the Atlantic Ocean to offshore drilling, one retired South Carolina Navy officer said secure energy sources are essential to securing national safety.
“Protecting our country has never been a glamorous job," U.S. Navy Rear Admiral (Ret.) William Schachte Jr. said. "But veterans who have sworn to protect our country know that our national security will always be at risk, and by not having trusted sources of energy, we are adding risk to our security. “
Schachte's remarks were in part a response to events such as the Coastal Voices Summit, organized by the environmental group Oceana and held last month. The event attracted business leaders, politicians and celebrities from throughout the East Coast in opposition to the drilling plans, which would permit drilling in an area running from Virginia to Georgia. It also includes plans for seismic testing below the ocean floor, from Delaware to Florida, which other former Navy members, including Fernandina Beach, Florida, Mayor Johnny Miller have described as "ethically wrong" for the level of disturbance it would cause to sonar-dependent marine life.
The sentiment was echoed by more than 430 South Carolina business owners, who signed a letter of opposition that was delivered to Gov. Nikki Haley by South Carolina Small Business Chamber President and CEO Frank Knapp.
Still, Schachte suggested the benefits of drilling outweigh the drawbacks.
“This is not a discussion about wind or solar being better than oil and natural gas," Schachte said. "We need all sources. So as a person who served in this county’s military for over 30 years, and swore to protect this country against all enemies, both foreign and domestic, I cannot understand why we would not consider and procure offshore resources. It would provide American jobs, generate new tax revenue, be completely funded by private enterprise and put our country in charge of our energy supplies.“