State and federal news of interest to Ocracoke

Cooper announces opposition to seismic testing and offshore drilling

Off shore drilling rig, Santa Barbara. Ph0to courtesy of Commons Wikimedia.

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ATLANTIC BEACH–Gov. Roy Cooper announced Wednesday that the state Dept. of Environmental Quality will submit formal comments opposing offshore seismic testing for oil drilling on North Carolina’s coast.

Cooper joined coastal business owners and community leaders at the Fort Macon Visitor Center to announce the decision. Earlier this year, President Trump rescinded the moratorium on seismic testing permits – the first step toward offshore drilling. Friday marks the deadline for public comments on the testing.

At least 30 coastal communities have passed resolutions opposing drilling, joining hundreds of businesses and a bipartisan group of North Carolina’s Congressional delegation.

“It’s clear that opening North Carolina’s coast to oil and gas exploration and drilling would bring unacceptable risks to our economy, our environment, and our coastal communities—and for little potential gain,” said Cooper. “As Governor, I’m here to speak out and take action against it. I can sum it up in four words: not off our coast.”

A potential oil spill could decimate North Carolina’s coastal tourism and commercial fishing industries, both major economic drivers for the region. Coastal tourism in North Carolina generates more than $3 billion annually, supporting more than 30,000 jobs.

In addition to the economic risks, Cooper cited improving renewable technologies and the lower cost of natural gas. Cooper highlighted concerns that the political climate in Washington focusing on deregulation could jeopardize communities near drilling.

“In Washington, D.C., deregulation is a top priority,” he said.  “That means fewer safeguards for the environment and ultimately offshore drilling. It’s simply not worth it.”

For key facts on North Carolina’s coastal economy and the dangers of offshore drilling, click here