RALEIGH – A few months ago, the “Jobs Governor” Roy Cooper held a publicity stunt in Atlantic Beach to let North Carolinians knows that he will stand in the way of any jobs and economic development that could come from energy exploration off the continental shelf.
The Trump administration just proposed the most sweeping offshore drilling plan in history, a proposal that calls for opening up the Arctic, Atlantic and Pacific Oceans for drilling, while also opening up parts of the Gulf of Mexico that have been off limits.
Experts say the proposal is unprecedented in regards to the geographical extent and in the number of lease sales. The five-year drilling plan from the Department of Interior for 2019-2022, which would replace the 2017-2022 plan from the Obama administration, calls for 47 lease sales.
The acreage on offer would consist of more than 90 percent of the entire U.S. outer continental shelf, including areas that have either never seen drilling or haven’t experience drilling in decades. The only area that would remain off limits would be the North Aleutian Planning Area in Alaska.
In other words, Trump is trying to open up essentially the entire U.S. coast to oil and gas drilling. The administration believes the proposed territory holds some 90 billion barrels of oil and 319 trillion cubic feet of natural gas, or reserves that are about 80 percent larger than is currently available.
“Under President Trump, we are going to become the strongest energy superpower this world has ever known,” Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke told reporters.
After eight years of President Obama and Leftist environmentalist whackos ruling the roost, Trump’s plan should be welcome news to not just conservatives, but anyone that has to fill up their gas tank to get to work.
North Carolina has some of the East Coast’s best access to the Outer Continental Shelf, and safely developing energy resources there would represent a big economic boost for the coastal counties of North Carolina. From onnshore services, to relevant industry training and jobs, North Carolina would benefit mightily from earnest exploration and development efforts.
So what does the “Jobs Governor” of the Old North State do? Well, he doubles down on his anti-prosperity Leftism, of course.
In July, Gov. Cooper came out against offshore drilling along NC’s coast. Despite @realDonaldTrump’s announcement, our administration is committed to protecting North Carolina from this threat. pic.twitter.com/gMLc6USRDa
— Governor Roy Cooper (@NC_Governor) January 5, 2018
In writing off coastal energy exploration as a untenable threat to the environment and vowing to fight it, Cooper demonstrates that he would rather cater to his Far Left base in Asheville and Chapel Hill than work to foster prosperity in the coastal counties.
Of course, Cooper’s friends in the media applauded his symbolic stand.
It is worth noting that Cooper made this announcement in Carteret County, which voted overwhelmingly for Trump and against Cooper in the 2016 elections. This author grew up on that Crystal Coast and can say with conviction that he has little support for his alarmist environmentalism among the residents and business owners because it has little, if any, basis in reality.
Instead, many coastal residents understand that the real “critical threat” to their communities isn’t the exceedingly rare oil spill that ecosystems and economies inevitably and quickly bounce back from, but rather a Leftist governing philosophy that aims to stifle economic development and prosperity.
Talk to any builder along the coast and you will hear about the constant headaches caused by environmental regulations that make new development more trouble than it’s worth.
Luckily, President Trump does not subscribe to the same politically correct nonsense that Cooper apparently wallows in. And in 2020, we’ll have the chance to elect a new governor that understands just why America was vaulted to her current economic superpower status.
Drill, baby, drill.