NC gov­er­nor on Trump drilling plan: ‘Not off our coast’

Kuwait Times - - BUSINESS -

AT­LANTIC BEACH, NC: Un­der pres­sure from US Pres­i­dent Donald Trump, North Carolina’s gov­er­nor an­nounced his op­po­si­tion to drilling for nat­u­ral gas and oil off the At­lantic coast, say­ing it poses too much of a threat to the state’s beaches and tourism econ­omy.

Up against a Fri­day dead­line for com­ment from elected of­fi­cials on the Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion’s re­quest for com­pa­nies to per­form seis­mic test­ing un­der At­lantic wa­ters, Demo­cratic Gov. Roy Cooper held a news con­fer­ence at a coastal state park to an­nounce he’ll be reg­is­ter­ing the state’s op­po­si­tion.

“There is a threat loom­ing over this coast­line that we love and the pros­per­ity it brings, and that’s the threat of off­shore drilling,” Cooper said at the Fort Ma­con State Park in Carteret County, where he said he vis­ited as a child and as a par­ent.

“As gov­er­nor, I’m here to speak out and take ac­tion against it. I can sum it up in four words: ‘not off our coast.’” State Repub­li­can lead­ers, in­clud­ing for­mer Gov. Pat McCrory, have pressed for ex­plo­ration both off­shore and in­land through hy­draulic frac­tur­ing. GOP leg­is­la­tors have passed laws lay­ing the ground­work for col­lect­ing roy­al­ties from any oil and gas mined be­low the ocean sur­face.

In April, Trump signed an ex­ec­u­tive or­der to ex­pand oil drilling in the Arc­tic and At­lantic oceans, re­vers­ing re­stric­tions im­posed by Pres­i­dent Barack Obama, and the In­te­rior Depart­ment is rewrit­ing a five-year drilling plan. A fed­eral agency is now seek­ing per­mits for five busi­nesses to use seis­mic air guns to find oil and gas for­ma­tions deep un­der the At­lantic, de­spite the harm en­vi­ron­men­tal­ists say this tech­nol­ogy does to ma­rine mam­mals. Mary­land GOP Gov. Larry Ho­gan also an­nounced his op­po­si­tion this month.

Cooper, who took of­fice in Jan­uary, said an oil spill could be cat­a­strophic to com­mer­cial fish­er­men and the tourism in­dus­try, which pro­vides more than $3 bil­lion in spend­ing and 30,000 jobs in coastal coun­ties. North Carolina Petroleum Coun­cil Ex­ec­u­tive Di­rec­tor David McGowan said off­shore en­ergy could bring thou­sands of new jobs and more lo­cal rev­enues. The gov­er­nor dis­agreed.

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