A view of the future for the Southeast coast? (Photo by BOEM.)
A view of the future for the Southeast coast? (Photo by BOEM.)

NC governor-elect vows immediate action to begin drilling off Atlantic coast

The Southeast could soon be reaping the benefits and costs of offshore drilling for oil and gas if North Carolina Gov.-elect Pat McCrory (R) has his way.

Speaking this afternoon at the N.C. Bankers Association's 2013 Economic Forecast Forum, McCrory laid out his policy priorities around economic development for the state. Offshore drilling for natural gas and oil was among the top items on his to-do list.

"Our state has fallen behind in implementing energy policy," said McCrory, a former employee of Duke Energy who has been a vocal champion of both offshore and onshore drilling for fossil fuels. His campaign manager was Russell Peck, who previously served as director of external affairs for America's Natural Gas Alliance, an industry lobby group.

McCrory vowed to take "immediate action" to form a coalition with South Carolina, Virginia and Georgia and start negotiating with the federal government to begin drilling offshore first for natural gas, and then possibly for oil.

"We ought to contribute to the energy independence of our country and no longer stand on the sidelines," he said.

McCrory also said he wants to promote inland exploration for natural gas. The North Carolina legislature legalized fracking last year, and the state's Mining and Energy Commission is currently in the process of crafting regulations for the controversial drilling practice, which has been linked to toxic air and water pollution.

"The downside of that is that we started late, and gas prices have gone low," McCrory said. "It's a tough, competitive market, but the longer we sit on the sidelines the more difficult it will be for the state."

The last time North Carolina seriously considered offshore drilling was in 1990, when the state blocked an effort by what was then known as Mobil Oil -- now Exxon Mobil -- to drill off the Outer Banks.

The Obama administration has taken a cautious approach to opening up the Atlantic to drilling activity -- particularly in the wake of the 2010 BP oil spill disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, which caused billions of dollars in economic and environmental damages to Louisiana and other Gulf Coast states.

This year, the administration is set to undertake a review to decide whether to allow energy companies to conduct seismic testing in order to evaluate the potential of offshore oil and gas reserves in the Atlantic.

While McCrory and other offshore drilling advocates emphasize the potential for jobs and lease revenues, those benefits are pitted against the potential damage the inevitable spills associated with offshore oil and gas drilling will cause to the state's critically important coastal tourism and fishing industries.

In addition, as the Louisiana experience illustrates, the industrial infrastructure associated with offshore drilling exacerbates coastal land loss -- a major concern for storm-vulnerable North Carolina and Virginia, which are in a hotspot for accelerated sea-level rise.

An estimated 40 to 60 percent of Louisiana's coastal land loss -- the worst in the nation -- is due to energy industry activity, in particular the cutting of canals and installation of pipelines by drilling companies.

A view of the future for the Southeast coast? (Photo by BOEM.)
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oil drilling = jobs = growth

Anyone who thinks oil rigs would ruin fishing, have never fished in the Gulf. I am from here and travel a couple of times a year to fish in the Gulf. We head out and straight to the nearest rig to catch bait. Then rig hop catching fish. I also fish here all year. I would say the fishing in the Gulf is 1000 times better than here. We travel to Biloxi once a year for the SKA kingfish national championship. We missed one year and that was due to the BP oil spill. We were back the very next year. We fished all over there for 10 days and I never once saw anything from the oil spill. Go online and look at pictures of fish around the oil rigs. Go to YouTube and watch videos. Its absolutely amazing the ecosystem the structures coming out of the water create. Please push for the oil rigs here but also push to get them closer to shore where more people can get to them to fish. You can only see approx. 10 miles on the ocean. So to not see the rigs, lets push for 15 miles.

I think that drilling off the

I think that drilling off the coast is what needs to be done..everyone up here says they don't want the drilling to happen but they bitch about gas prices every time they fill up their cars.....don't stand in the way of progress


The Outer Banks community has taken a beating from the deep recession, drop in real estate values, shoaling inlets,roads and bridges destroyed or in need of replacement. Now why would we even chance off shore gas drilling? A spill would be the final nail in the coffin! I do NOT support off shore drilling or fracking! We need to continue to pursue green energy alternatives, such as solar, wind and geothermal. Protect our earth and our communities!

A couple relatively positive

A couple relatively positive notes:

1) Since the US has flooded the natural gas market the past few years, and prices have bottomed out such that even commodities speculation can't seem to budge them, it's not even economically feasible to run some current drilling operations, let alone explore new deposits. So the chances of any company coming to drill in NC during Pat's tenure (and before a new governor can issue moratoriums on all this nonsense) is minimal at best.

2) The cycle of exploration-drilling-refining for oil is measured in decades. Again if there were any proven reserves to be found off the NC coast, it wouldn't even start until well after Pat's out of office and even then would depend on the federal government rescinding the moratorium on Atlantic Coast drilling, which it's not likely to do anytime soon, largely due to the natural gas boom.

This is a really bad idea on McCrory's part not in the least because it's not likely to happen due to external forces, but also because the coastal regions' tax revenue subsidizes the rest of the state and a lot of the money there from developers to real estate to local industry gives generously to Republicans, and they'd be none too pleased to see their cash cow ruined, either.


what a waste of time, thoughts, and everything else
seems like a joke

offshore drilling is not the answer

Offshore drilling has the potential to ruin the ocean waters,hurting all life that exists in the ocean, as well as along the coastline. This part of the ocean experiences an entire alphabet of hurricanes each year, in addition to the nor'easters of the winter season, making it difficult to maintain the safety of any operation. This is a dangerous and foolish gamble to gain gas and oil, and one that wiser generations voted down in 1990. Now attention toward developing solar technologies and better management of resources that do not endanger life on our planet should take top priority. Although the vote passed to allow fracking in North Carolina, I hope someone's good sense prevails and that law is stricken. These practices in the pursuit of profit are not worth the risk to lives and damage to our natural resources. No to fracking and No to offshore drilling.Wake up North Carolina!

There is No Reason to do

There is No Reason to do this! We need to set up windmills that can't be seen from the beach. This energy will allow our state to save money, not destroy our great state.

$hort term $ight!

Let tho$e who want fracking commit to having their drinking water for them and their familie$ to come from $iteS down$tream. A$ for drilling off$hore, it'$ purely a ca$e of whatever happen$ out of $ight i$ out of mind...until the irreplaceable re$ource$ are polluted and gone. $hort term thinking at it'$ wor$t.

we must protect our beautiful coast

Energy independence does not mean producing more in our own country. Rather, we need to improve renewable resources and green energy. That is where the future lies. And our NC coast is too precious to endanger.

Offshore drilling!

This is one of the most absurd ideas Mc-Cronies has come out with to date, even though I'm sure there will be other, equally horrendous ideas from his administration.

When the first tar ball hits our beaches I suggest that Mr. Mc-Cronies be spoon fed the entire thing!

Not only is this a bad idea for North Carolina, it is bad for the world! You can NOT undo the damage that will inevitably occur from such activity. And in Hurricane ally no less! Can we be any more stupid?

Fracking, etc.

I agree completely with the comments on this page. It makes me want to think about moving away from the coast. Its vulnerable as it is now and fracking is just out of the question for what we would get out of it. It certainly would not be enough to compensate for the damage that is permanent. What a horrible idea!!! I understand voter ID is very necessary all of a sudden too. We don't have any voter fraud in this state and this is only being done to suppress the votes of minority and elderly people. So backwards! This is not a totally republican state even if it is being run by them for the first time in a couple of hundred years! They are really off to a good start!

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