Cooper confirms state's opposition to coastal drilling


Coastal tourism is extremely beneficial to North Carolina, bringing in $3 billion annually.   File photo

On Aug. 17, North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper and the Department of Environmental Quality sent a letter to the U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management detailing the state's opposition to the oil and gas leasing for offshore drilling on its coast, the governor's office reported.

“We cannot afford to endanger our ecologically sensitive coastlines or the natural resources that are the foundation of our state's tourism industry and coastal economy," Gov. Cooper said in the letter. "Because offshore drilling threatens North Carolina’s critical coastal industries and unique coastal environment with limited benefits for our citizens, it is a bad deal for North Carolina. Accordingly, I ask that you respect the wishes of our state and maintain in the new OCS Leasing Plan the current prohibition of oil and gas drilling off North Carolina’s coast.”

Coastal tourism is extremely beneficial to North Carolina, bringing in $3 billion annually to the state and supporting over 30,000 jobs in its eastern area. The state's coastline is over 300 miles long and contains 2.3 million acres of estuarine waters and more than 10,000 miles of estuarine shoreline.

In July, Governor Cooper made a public statement conveying that North Carolina is against the drilling. The DEQ also contacted the federal government about opposing drilling on the state's coast.

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