Gaffney spikes the ball: Seismic Testing resolution falls in Jacksonville City Council

offshore seismic testing

The back and forth on a resolution against seismic testing off the Jacksonville coast has finally ended, as it went down in a 9-9 vote.

Historians will find amusing a part of the process, which involved Councilman Reggie Gaffney attempting to not vote, because he didn’t understand the issue, before eventually voting against the resolution.

His brother Johnny did something similar on the Human Rights Ordinance in 2012.

Debate on the issue was lively. Councilman Jim Love produced an expert, Dr. Quinton White, who is on the Waterways Commission and has been a Jacksonville University professor for decades. He argued that seismic testing could impact sea life and coastal resources.

John Crescimbeni, the bill’s sponsor, contended that the moratorium is not “forever,” but a chance to do due diligence. He pointed out that three beach communities had done something similar.

Stephen Joost, who was for it before he was against it in Rules, decided he was for the resolution again: “all the resolution is saying is let’s collect more data.”

Bill Gulliford supported the resolution, in part because his beach communities oppose seismic testing.

Opponents of the moratorium spoke. Councilman Richard Clark said the resolution would impede Jacksonville’s ability to be on the “forefront of the energy sector.”

Robin Lumb: “This sends the wrong message,” he said, “unless you can provide evidence that this is genuinely harmful” to the ecology.

In the end, Councilman Lumb won’t have to worry about the message sent. The resolution went down, 9-9, ending a trajectory of events that started with a resolution introduced by Mayor Alvin Brown during the campaign to much press release hoopla.

With a new Council, this may go a different way, however.

A.G. Gancarski

A.G. Gancarski has written for since 2014. He is based in Northeast Florida. He can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter: @AGGancarski


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