The prospect of drilling off the coast of North Carolina for oil and natural gas is a real one. Last month, President Donald Trump proposed the opening of nearly all American waters to offshore drilling. This new five-year plan is scheduled to start in 2019.
So far North Carolina’s elected officials are split on whether to support drilling off the coast.
State Representative Ted Davis, a Republican from New Hanover County, says he supports his constituents’ opposition to drilling; but Republican Congressman David Rouzer supports the president’s measure. Democratic Governor Roy Cooper and Attorney General Josh Stein are asking the Trump Administration to exempt North Carolina from the plan.
Earlier this month, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke visited North Carolina and held meetings with Governor Cooper and a group of stakeholders who oppose offshore drilling. Zinke also met with a Republican contingent of state legislators who were mixed on support or opposition.
Representative Ted Davis asked Zinke for a few concessions – including an extended comment period. New Hanover County Commissioner Rob Zapple, part of the Governor’s contingent that met with Zinke, reported that group also asked Zinke for a longer comment period – as well as more public meetings in North Carolina. As of February 15th, neither request has been granted. There is still one open meeting scheduled in Raleigh on February 26th. The public comment period is open until March 9th.
Roger Shew, Senior Lecturer in the Department of Earth and Ocean Sciences and Environmental Science at the University of North Carolina Wilmington; he worked for Shell Oil for 20 years in the Gulf Coast and regularly gives presentations on offshore oil and gas exploration, seismic testing, and wind energy around the Cape Fear region.
To submit a comment on the proposed Five-Year Plan:
Public Meeting: February 26th, 3-7 PM, Hilton North Raleigh Midtown, 3415 Wake Forest Road, Raleigh, 27609