RALEIGH – We recently highlighted Governor Roy Cooper’s pandering to the Tree Hugging Left with his empty threat of ‘Not off our coast’ when it comes to oil and gas drilling. Cooper reiterated his loyalty to to the Environmentalist Whackos when the Trump administration announced intentions to open up the Outer Continental Shelf to energy exploration and development.
U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke announced Thursday that, after speaking with Republican Governor of Florida Rick Scott, he folded and would be exempting Florida from the plan to sell parcels for oil and gas development.
With Zinke cracking the door, Cooper is now doubling down on his opposition to offshore energy development and asking Zinke that North Carolina also be exempted from the plan.
“Gov. Cooper requested a meeting with the Secretary to explain the critical threat drilling and seismic testing pose to North Carolina’s coastal communities, economy and environment. The state is also exploring legal options to prevent offshore drilling.
“The Trump Administration, through their decision on Florida, has admitted that offshore drilling is a threat to coastal economies and tourism,” Gov. Cooper said. “Offshore drilling holds the same risks for North Carolina as it does for Florida and North Carolina deserves the same exemption. As I said last summer, not off our coast.””
Gov. Cooper requested a meeting or call with Secretary Zinke to explain the risks of seismic testing and drilling off of North Carolina’s coast and demand an exemption for North Carolina like Florida received. In a letter to Secretary Zinke, Gov. Cooper reiterated his opposition to offshore drilling off of North Carolina’s coast and emphasized the threat to the state’s coastal economy.
“Just as you acknowledge in removing Florida, offshore drilling threatens tourism, which is a vital economic driver. The same holds true for North Carolina.”
“Coastal tourism generates $3 billion annually in North Carolina and supports more than 30,000 jobs in the eastern part of the state. Commercial fishing brings in another $95 million every year. In addition, North Carolina has over 300 miles of coastline, 2.3 million acres of estuarine waters, and over 10,000 miles of estuarine shoreline. All of these contribute to a robust national economy.”
This sort of naive alarmism is why these bountiful resources have been off limits for far too long in the first place.
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The fact is that oil spills are incredibly rare, and getting rarer. To act as if energy development off the coast of North Carolina would be anything but positive for North Carolina’s economy, even taking the minuscule risks into account, is to suspend faculties of reason in favor or faith-based devotions to environmentalist fear mongering.
Leftists claim to be devotees of science, and like to preach to the Right about the former’s disregard for science. This, of course is a complete joke, demonstrated by their religious adherence to man-made global warming despite the utter lack of confirmed scientific evidence.
If Cooper and the Left are so dedicated to science relative to offshore oil and gas drilling, then perhaps they should listen to the experts?
Dr. William Y. Brown, the chief environmental officer for the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, refutes to same Leftist talking points that Cooper is regurgitating.
Seismic testing destroying sea life?
“I think those assertions are wildly exaggerated and not supported by the evidence,” says Brown.
“To date, there has been no documented scientific evidence of noise from air guns used in geological and geophysical seismic activities adversely affecting marine animal populations.”
“[The technology] has been used for more than 30 years around the world. It is still used in U.S. waters off of the Gulf of Mexico with no known detrimental impact to marine animal populations or to commercial fishing.”
Cooper also claims to care about jobs for the good people of Eastern North Carolina, highlighting the roughly 30,000 people employed in that industry, from South Port, to the Crystal Coast, to Nags Head.
He doesn’t explain just why those jobs would be at risk from energy development off shore, but unsightly oil rigs have often been used to explain how it could hurt tourism. News Flash: A person standing on the beach would not even be able to see an oil rig on the Outer Continental Shelf.
Speaking of jobs, studies conducted by the American Petroleum Institute in 2013 suggest that oil and gas development on the OCS could means many tens of thousands of jobs and billions in increased economic activity for the Old North State.
To be specific: 20,000 direct jobs, and 35,000 indirect jobs and $4+ billion to the state economy by 2035. This includes up to $600 million PER YEAR in manufacturing oil equipment by that date, and potential oil revenue sharing agreements worth nearly $1 billion.
Aren’t these the kind of advanced manufacturing jobs the state has been clamoring for?
In fact, of all the states on the East Coast, North Carolina would gain more jobs and economic benefits than any other by a healthy margin.
So when Cooper pumps out his chest to obstinately say ‘Not off our coast!’, what he is really saying is that he isn’t interested in real risk assessments, real science, or real jobs for North Carolina.
Perhaps the legislature, a more representative body of the good people in our state, should also send a letter to Zinke imploring him to ignore Crazy Cooper and follow through with allowing sensible and beneficial energy development.
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