With offshore drilling for oil on the ropes after the economically devastating 2010 Deepwater Horizon spill, in 2011 the oil industry formed, bankrolled and ran the Outer Continental Shelf Governors Coalition (OCSG) to defend the industry and lobby for more drilling. The original 4 members were Louisiana governor Bobby Jindal, Texas governor Rick Perry, Mississippi governor Haley Barbour and Alaska governor Sean Parnell.
By 2015 the OCSG had expanded to 8 members with the addition of Alabama governor Robert Bentley, Maine governor Paul LePage, North Carolina governor Pat McCrory, South Carolina governor Nikki Haley and Virginia governor Terry McAuliffe. It was the latter three governors who pushed for the Obama Administration to put Atlantic Coast offshore drilling in the five-year plan for Outer Continental Shelf oil leases, an effort that collapsed from massive opposition from Atlantic Coast residents, businesses, environmental organizations and local units of government.
Only two years later the OCSG has shrunk to 6 members with the departure of North and South Carolina. Soon there will be only 5 members if Virginia’s Lt. Governor Ralph Northam wins the governor’s race this November.
But don’t count the oil industry out. It has plenty of money to continue to bankroll this front group regardless of how much more is shrinks.
Frank Knapp Jr.