Tuesday - September 18, 2018
Cooper Wants NC Exempted From Drilling
Written by Bruce Ferrell   
Monday, 22 January 2018 12:56

WRIGHTSVILLE BEACH -- Joined by local business leaders and elected officials, Gov. Roy Cooper once again called on the Trump Administration to grant North Carolina an exemption from proposed seismic testing and offshore drilling and pledged potential legal action to protect North Carolina’s coastal communities.

Following the Trump Administration’s proposal to open the Atlantic and Pacific coasts to offshore drilling, bipartisan governors of coastal states spoke out in opposition. Days after the announcement, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke announced that after meeting with Florida Gov. Rick Scott, Florida would be exempted from the plan, citing the importance of tourism and the coastal economy to the state. Gov. Cooper previously submitted public comments opposing seismic testing and drilling off North Carolina’s coast and on January 20th, he requested an official exemption for North Carolina in a call with Secretary Zinke.

“By exempting Florida, the Trump administration has admitted that offshore drilling is a threat to coastal economies and tourism,” Gov. Cooper said in a press conference at the Blockade Runner resort . “Offshore drilling presents an unacceptable risk for North Carolina’s coastal tourism industry and economy – with little potential gain.”

An oil spill would be particularly damaging for North Carolina’s coastal communities, which generate billions of dollars from the tourism and commercial fishing industries. Visitor spending accounts for more than $3 billion in North Carolina’s coastal counties, supporting more than 30,000 jobs. Commercial fishing also generates hundreds of millions of dollars for the state’s economy.

“North Carolina has made its opposition to offshore drilling clear,” added Cooper, “Following the public comment period, if our state is not granted the same exemption that Florida received, we will take legal action to protect our coastal communities and prevent drilling off the North Carolina coast.”

The 2010 BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico ultimately cost more than $60 billion in cleanup and economic recovery costs – more than double North Carolina’s annual budget.

Gov. Cooper encouraged North Carolinians to share their feedback and opposition to offshore drilling with the Interior Department at (202) 208-3100.  At least 30 coastal communities have passed resolutions opposing drilling, joining hundreds of businesses and a bipartisan group of North Carolina’s Congressional delegation

“Secretary Zinke agreed to continue to receive public comment from North Carolinians. I urge all of our families, business leaders, and local elected officials to contact the Interior Department and let them know the risk offshore drilling would pose to our coastal communities and state,” said Gov. Cooper.

The Cooper Administration is committed to protecting North Carolina from the threat of offshore drilling. Last month, the N.C. Division of Coastal Management asked four companies to submit additional information about proposed seismic testing for offshore oil and gas exploration because their original proposals did not consider the latest scientific studies on the harmful impacts to marine life.

Responsibly developing our energy resources on the Outer Continental Shelf in a safe and well-regulated way is important to our economy and energy security, and it provides billions of dollars to fund the conservation of our coastlines, public lands and parks,” said Secretary Zinke in a press release. “(The) announcement lays out the options that are on the table and starts a lengthy and robust public comment period. Just like with mining, not all areas are appropriate for offshore drilling, and we will take that into consideration in the coming weeks. The important thing is we strike the right balance to protect our coasts and people while still powering America and achieving Amer

 
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