This Thursday will be the first official opportunity for citizens to voice our opinions about drilling for oil and gas off the coast of South Carolina.  The Natural Gas Exploration Feasibility Study Committee that was convened last year by the state legislature will be hosting a public hearing on Thursday, February 12th from 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm at Trident Tech Nursing Auditorium in the 920 Building, 9000 Rivers Avenue, North Charleston 29406.

This is insanity!  Did you know that 8000+ TONS of nerve gas, mustard gas, and Lewisite were dumped off the Charleston coast but no one knows exactly where (not the army and not the DNR)?  And that there’s a LIVE H-bomb in the mud off of Tybee Island (near Savannah) but no one knows where (not even the pilot who dropped it)?  With all of the crap that we’ve dumped into the oceans, it’s sheer insanity to drill there.  Not to mention the environmental damage an oil spill would cause – Alaska has still not recovered from the Exxon Valdez spill.  Let’s invest in wind and solar – they’ll be around long after oil supplies have dried up!

From John Bull’s eye-opening story in the Hampton Roads, VA Daily Press, Oct 30, 2005:

“One of the first of the now-identified dump zones created at the end of World War II was also one of the largest. The Army dubbed it Disposal Site Baker.

The Army has only the vaguest idea where it is on the ocean floor – somewhere off the coast of Charleston, S.C., the most specific surviving records indicate.

“I have never had any information to suggest this was done,” said Charles Farmer, a marine biologist who’s worked for South Carolina’s Department of Natural Resources for almost 40 years.

“I would say this is not well known to us at all. This is something that is new, at least to me. It’s incredible some of the things we’ve managed to do.”

The first documented dump near that state was in March 1946, when four railroad cars full of mustard gas bombs and mines were tossed over the side of the USS Diamond Head, an ammunition ship. 

Several months later, an estimated 23 barges full of German-produced nerve gas bombs and U.S.-made Lewisite bombs were dumped in the same location. Lewisite is a blister agent akin to mustard gas. A single barge carried up to 350 tons.

“If we don’t have any idea of depths of water or location, hell, they could be anywhere,” Farmer said. “As we have more and more activity and more and more development off the coast, I hope this was buried in 6,000 feet of water … or a lot of this stuff is going to come back to haunt us.

There’s one indication that those weapons were dumped in relatively shallow water: Army records show many of those 23 slow-moving barges were unloaded in one-day, out-and-back operations.”

Also see the Coastal Conservation League’s Facts About Offshore Drilling.

Come to the hearing and go on record with your opposition to this insanity.  Do it for yourself.  Do it for your kids.  Do it for Charleston. Just do it.