Updated with comments from Rep. Greg Murphy, R-N.C.
Gov. Roy Cooper in a letter Tuesday urged President Donald Trump and his administration to include North Carolina in the recently announced moratorium on oil drilling for the next 10 years.
The president Sept. 8 announced during an event in Jupiter, Florida, the presidential order to extend the moratorium on offshore drilling on Florida’s Gulf Coast and expanding it to Florida’s Atlantic Coast, as well as the coasts of Georgia and South Carolina.
In 2018, Trump announced plans to open nearly all federal waters to offshore drilling in his draft five-year program for oil and gas development on the Outer Continental Shelf. He later granted Florida an exemption from that program after objections from Florida’s Republican Gov. Rick Scott, per a past report.
“I am deeply concerned and disappointed that you did not include North Carolina in the moratorium,” Cooper wrote. “Offshore drilling threatens North Carolina’s coastal economy and environment and offers our state minimal economic benefit. Accepted science tells us that there is little, if any, oil worth drilling for off North Carolina’s coast, and the risks of offshore drilling far outweigh the benefits.”Cooper adds in the letter that knowing oil spills do not respect state lines and knowing the state’s history of hurricanes “should give us all pause before contemplating opening the waters off our coast to drilling, as the risk of storm damage to drilling and production equipment and subsequent spread of oil to other states on the Atlantic Coast is ever more likely, especially as climate change causes increasingly severe storms.”
“Opposition to offshore drilling is bipartisan and widespread across our state,” he continued. Forty-five North Carolina communities have adopted formal resolutions opposing the expansion of drilling.
Rep. Greg Murphy, R-N.C. said in an email response to Coastal Review Online, “Having spoken with my coastal constituents over the last year they are not in favor of seismic testing and offshore drilling. Unless the issue becomes one of national security, I will not support drilling off the shores of North Carolina.”
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