South Carolina resident William L. Schachte, a retired rear admiral in the U.S. Navy, is passionate about energy issues.
As the volunteer chair of South Carolina Vets4Energy, he also works with fellow Palmetto State veterans to advocate for policies that increase America's energy independence. In that regard, he's been critical of coverage given to energy issues — specifically offshore energy development — in the Charleston Post & Courier.
Earlier this month, Schachte penned a letter to the editor in the paper, taking issue with a recent report about seismic testing and its supposed impact on marine life.
“That’s not what the experts say,” Schachte wrote. “According to the federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, there is ‘no documented scientific evidence of noise from seismic activities adversely affecting marine animal populations.’ ”
According to Schachte, there have been no studies showing that such seismic testing — the technology used to determine if and how much oil and natural gas exists offshore — negatively impacts marine life. He points to a 2014 publication by the federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM).
"There has been no documented scientific evidence of noise from air guns used in geological and geophysical (G&G) seismic activities adversely affecting marine animal populations or coastal communities," wrote the BOEM's chief environmental officer, William Y. Brown, in the August 22, 2014 "Science Note" referenced by Schachte.
"This technology has been used for more than 30 years around the world," continued Brown. "It is still used in U.S. waters off of the Gulf of Mexico with no known detrimental impact to marine animal populations or to commercial fishing."
Schachte said he is disappointed the Post & Courier did not report on this study in the aforementioned article on seismic testing.
“The scientific studies show no harm to the marine environment and, of course, those were the stories — I would call them lies — that they perpetrated on the public on why they are against this,” he told Palmetto Business Daily last month.
Seismic testing, Schachte said, is vital as a first step to determining the amount of oil and natural gas reserves that may exist off the shores of South Carolina. He said he supports the development of these offshore energy resources, and sharply criticized the Obama Administration's recent decision to bar such activity in the mid-Atlantic.
“This decision puts unwarranted fear above sound science, and politics over national security,” he said. “The Administration’s decision will cost our country in the national security that energy independence provides. It will cost South Carolina in tax revenue and good paying jobs, many which could've been filled by veterans.”
Schachte said that his Post & Courier letter to the editor is just one of the many efforts he and fellow veterans undertake to advocate for increased domestic energy development.
“So whenever possible we try to do things like send letters to the editor or do an op-ed piece to present the other side," he said. "Because a lot of the publications, and an example would be the Post and Courier, my hometown newspaper here in Charleston, just is so slanted and so biased against drilling that they don’t bat an eye at continuing to publish stuff that is not accurate and not true.”
Schachte served in the military in various capacities for over 30 years and has volunteered with Vets4Energy for about three years.
“So I have just been eager my whole life to do things for the betterment of the country,” he said.