The water at the Lifeguard Beach on Ocracoke is calm after a few days of high swells and dangerous rip currents created by Hurricane Gert. Photo: C. Leinbach

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RALEIGH–Gov. Roy Cooper and the Department of Environmental Quality submitted formal comments yesterday to the U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management to convey North Carolina’s opposition to oil and gas leasing for offshore drilling on North Carolina’s coast.

“Because offshore drilling threatens North Carolina’s critical coastal industries and unique coastal environment with limited benefits for our citizens, it is a bad deal for North Carolina,” Cooper wrote in the letter. “Accordingly, I ask that you respect the wishes of our state and maintain in the new OCS Leasing Plan the current prohibition of oil and gas drilling off North Carolina’s coast.”

Coastal tourism generates $3 billion annually in North Carolina and supports more than 30,000 jobs in the eastern part of the state. Commercial fishing also brings in hundreds of millions of dollars to the state every year. North Carolina has over 300 miles of coastline, 2.3 million acres of estuarine waters, and over 10,000 miles of estuarine shoreline.

Last month, Governor Cooper announced the state’s opposition to drilling and DEQ sent the federal government comments opposing seismic testing for oil drilling off of North Carolina’s coast.  Click here to read the letter.


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