July 20, 2017
FORT MACON, N.C. (WITN) – Governor Roy Cooper says the state will oppose seismic blasting off our coast which he says is the first step toward offshore drilling.
The federal government has set tomorrow as the deadline for comments on seismic testing, and the governor says the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality will let the Trump Administration know “loud and clear that North Carolina is opposed to it.”
“Not off our coast,” the governor told a crowd this morning at Fort Macon State Park.
Tourism brings $3 billion a year to the state’s economy, and provides 30,000 jobs, according to Cooper. He says North Carolina simply can’t afford to lose them.
The governor says there are serious concerns about offshore drilling and he says the risks outweigh any potential benefits. “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.
Cooper was joined by several Crystal Coast mayors in making the announcement. So far, more than 30 coastal communities have come out in opposition to offshore drilling.
The Trump administration is rewriting a five-year drilling plan that would open portions of the Atlantic now off-limits to drilling and has asked permission for companies to use seismic air guns to find oil and gas formations.
The North Carolina Petroleum Council says opposing offshore drilling is a missed opportunity.
“Our state is uniquely positioned to add thousands of additional jobs and increased local revenue through safe and responsible offshore energy development – all of which is disregarded by Governor Cooper’s announcement,” said Executive Director David McGowan.
McGowan says the oil and natural gas industry supports over 140,000 jobs in the state and contributes over $12 billion to North Carolina’s economy.