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Knapp to Lead Effort To Stop Seismic Testing

This story was updated April 6 to clarify Frank Knapp Jr.’s role with the South Carolina Small Business Chamber of Commerce.

COLUMBIA, S.C.— The former president and CEO of the Business Alliance for Protecting the Atlantic Coast is now focusing his attention at the helm of the South Carolina Small Business Chamber of Commerce, or SCSBCC, on a potential lawsuit to stop seismic testing in the Atlantic if federal permits are approved.

Frank Knapp

Frank Knapp Jr.  has stepped down from his leadership role with Business Alliance for Protecting the Atlantic Coast, or BAPAC, which he co-founded, to focus his attention on the SCSBCC, according to an announcement from SCSBCC. Knapp co-founded SCSBCC in February of 2000 and is president and CEO of the 5,000-plus member organization.

The SCSBCC and more than a dozen coastal municipalities will join together in the potential lawsuit. The SC Environmental Law Project is representing the potential plaintiffs.

Knapp said in a statement that if there is to be exploration for oil in the Atlantic using the highly destructive seismic air gun blasting process, it will have to get past objections from South Carolina and possible legal action.

“I believe the professionals at the federal agencies want to do the right thing and protect Atlantic Coast marine life and local economies from unnecessary and destructive seismic testing. However, it they succumb to the political directives of this Administration, they will face the legal dagger of a lawsuit from my chamber and our state’s coastal communities,” Knapp said. Adding that the health of the commercial and recreational fishing industries is at risk when sonic airguns blast the ocean floor every 10-12 seconds for months.

“We should not destroy the good things we know are out there in the Atlantic to find out what we don’t know is out there. We will not allow our existing businesses suffer financially so that foreign-owned seismic companies can make money,” he said.

Mayor Billy Keyserling of Beaufort, South Carolina, said in the release that there are 16 South Carolina municipalities ready to join the SCSBCC to go to court to stop seismic testing if political currents outweigh research and data.

“It’s time for the career scientists at the National Marine Fisheries Service and the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management to make the right decision on seismic testing,” said Keyserling. “They know the evidence of the damage caused by this old exploration technology.”

Charleston, South Carolina, Mayor John J. Tecklenburg added,  that the science on this is unequivocal.

“Seismic testing represents a clear and present danger to South Carolina, to marine wildlife, and to the businesses that rely on a healthy, vibrant ocean habitat, particularly our recreational and commercial fishing industries,” he said. “That’s a risk our citizens and businesses can’t afford, and a threat they should never have to face.”

BAPAC has the support of more than 42,000 businesses from Maine to Florida in opposition to offshore drilling and seismic testing for oil in the Atlantic.

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Staff Report

The story was compiled by staff members of Coastal Review Online.