Editorial: BOEM Hearing On Offshore Drilling Feb. 26th In Raleigh

By / Editorials / Wednesday, 14 February 2018 01:50

Managing Editor

In July of 2015, the Wilmington City Council followed the lead of many other communities along the east coast including, Carolina Beach, in opposition to seismic testing for off shore oil and gas exploration. The information gained from those tests would eventually lead to drilling rigs pumping crude oil or natural gas ashore for processing and transportation. The obvious concerns are environmental. One major incident on a drilling rig, a ship, or a pipeline would absolutely destroy our environment and in turn the heart of our tourism based economy in coastal North Carolina.

Claims by supporters of the industry said North Carolina would gain over 55,000 related jobs and share in the revenues from production. Drilling in federal waters does not make revenue sharing with our state very likely. The money will go to Washington coffers. As for jobs, ponder this aspect of the industry, where will our state permit a processing plant along the oceanfront in the face of immense public opposition and legal challenges spanning decades?

Current coastal regulations make it hard enough to build an oceanfront home let alone an industrial oil refinery.

What local government is going to permit such a large operation along a coastline where none presently exist under the sales pitch of jobs and money?

One incident and a coastal town like Carolina Beach would become an economic ghost town begging for federal money to clean it up. The state should chose environment over oil dollars. The risk is too high.

In January of 2016, the Town of Kure Beach voted to oppose seismic testing. In March of 2016 the Obama administration made a historic move to protect the East Coast from offshore drilling. In a proposed five-year program for oil and gas development on the Outer Continental Shelf, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management removed the Atlantic Ocean for leasing from 2017 to 2022.

President Donald Trump is trying to undo the work of the prior administration through an executive order that would require a review of restrictions on drilling along the Atlantic Coast. This could open the flood gates for oil and gas exploration even though in 2017, 100 East Coast municipalities (30 in North Carolina), more than 600 federal, state and local elected officials, and over 750 business interests all publicly opposed offshore drilling, citing threats to marine life, coastal communities and local economies. Along the Atlantic coast, nearly 1.4 million jobs and over $95 billion in gross domestic product rely on healthy ocean ecosystems, mainly through fishing, tourism and recreation.

The New Hanover County Board of Commissioners unanimously voted during their January 22nd, 2018 meeting to adopt a resolution expressing opposition to offshore drilling for oil and natural gas.

The Trump Administration recently granted an exemption to the State of Florida due to their concerns over allowing offshore drilling. Now North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper is requesting the same exemption that Florida will enjoy.

The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management will hold a meeting on February 26th, in Raleigh to hear input from the public. Anyone interested in helping to protect our coastal environment should attend the meeting or offer comments online.

The meeting will be held from 3pm to 7pm at the Hilton North Raleigh/Midtown, 3415 Wake Forest Road, Raleigh, NC 27609. The hotel phone number is (919) 872-2323.

If you are unable to attend, visit the BOEM website concerning the upcoming meeting at https://www.boem.gov/National-Program-Participate/

At that website you can learn about how to participate in the process by obtaining the same materials available at the meeting and offering comments to BOEM through their Virtual Meeting Room.

Call your congressman and voice your opinion.


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