A Real Gusher: Cost/Benefit Analyses Refute Cooper’s Offshore Drilling Fear Mongering

RALEIGH – We’ve written about it a couple times already: Cooper is insistent that North Carolina forgo thousands of jobs and billions in economic impact by denying ourselves the bountiful energy resources off our coast.

‘Not off our coast,’ as he likes to say, as if he is some sort of tough guy.

He, and other Leftists often cite the dangers of oil spills, discount how much oil and gas is really out there, and, of course, generally resent the use of fossil fuels because they gas the engine of capitalism. Leftists hate capitalism.

Well, for any reasonable person, Cooper’s whiny refusals would seem harmful to North Carolina, holding the Old North State back, in light of the honest studies that have analyzed the trade offs of offshore drilling.

The Carolina Journal lays out just why offshore oil drilling is totally worth it, despite Cooper’s objections:

“What North Carolinians could well see, if such exploration discovers economically recoverable energy assets, is a substantial contribution to job creation, income gains, and public revenues — but only if the federal government sides with North Carolina’s congressional delegation, which mostly favors offshore exploration, rather than North Carolina’s governor, who opposes it.


There are certainly some risks associated with offshore drilling, as there are with pretty much any large-scale enterprise. Sensible policymaking requires a careful assessment of the probabilities and likely consequences of adverse events, as well as a careful assessment of the probabilities and likely consequences of things going well.

Mike Walden, an economist at North Carolina State University, did just that several years ago in a cost-benefit analysis of offshore energy exploration. So did University of Wyoming economist Timothy Considine. Both looked at estimates of offshore energy reserves, a range of estimates for future market prices, and the potential effects of oil spills or other problems.”

Gee, I wonder what they found? Surely the reports are riddled with conclusions of environmental and economic calamity, just like Cooper has warned us about. That’s why we desperately need that exemption from the evil Trump energy plan!

“While using different methodologies, Walden and Considine came up with similar results, as Walden explains in his book North Carolina Beyond the Connected Age: The Tar Heel State in 2050, just out from the University of North Carolina Press. The scenario Walden described as most likely suggested that offshore drilling would boost North Carolina’s gross domestic product by $1.9 billion a year, its permanent employment by about 17,000 jobs, and annual government revenues by $116 million. In Considine’s mid-range scenario, his growth projections were $1 billion in GDP, about 15,000 jobs, and $171 million in revenues.

What about the environmental risks? Using standard assumptions and historical probabilities, the two scholars came up with projections denominated as dollars of GDP. Walden put the potential cost of spills at $83 million a year. Considine computed a broader range of potential environmental costs, including emissions, at $92 million a year.”


You mean to tell me that North Carolina can benefit economically, to the tune of billions annually, by embracing the free market as it relates to energy resources off of our coast, all while remaining reasonably free of environmental costs? Say it ain’t so!

If Cooper’s unwarranted Leftist pandering to the environmentalist whackos wasn’t clear enough, these clear-headed analyses should make it obvious how out of step with reality he really is.

“North Carolina “has the largest estimated reservoir of offshore oil supplies of any state on the East Coast,” Walden notes. I find it hard to believe that such an asset ought to be, and will be, kept off the market, particularly as the technologies and best practices for offshore exploration continue to get safer and more efficient. Gov. Cooper and other drilling foes may have the best of intentions. But North Carolina will be better off if their objections are noted, weighed against the evidence, and overruled.”

Here, here.

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