Offshore drilling “a bad deal for North Carolina,” Gov. Cooper says
“We cannot afford to endanger our ecologically sensitive coastlines or the natural and cultural resources that are the foundation of our state’s tourism industry and coastal economy,” Gov. Cooper wrote in a letter submitted as part of the comments. “Because offshore drilling threatens North Carolina’s critical coastal industries and unique coastal environment with little benefit for our state residents, it is a bad deal for North Carolina.”
Coastal tourism generates $3.4 billion annually in North Carolina and supports 35,000 jobs in the eastern part of the state. Commercial and recreational fishing contributes more than $1.96 billion to the state economy. North Carolina has a uniquely dynamic yet fragile coast, with approximately 300 miles of coastline, 2.5 million acres of estuarine waters, and 10,000 miles of estuarine shoreline.
The comments filed today explain in detail the risks of offshore drilling to North Carolina’s coastal environment, communities and businesses.
Gov. Cooper has worked for months to fight the Trump administration’s offshore drilling plan and has pledged to take legal action to prevent drilling if necessary.
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. In February, he met with Zinke in North Carolina where he and a bipartisan group of local officials stressed the threats that offshore drilling and seismic testing pose to the state’s coast.
Click here to read the comments.