ATLANTIC BEACH, N.C. (WNCT) — Gov. Roy Cooper emphatically stated offshore drilling has no place off North Carolina’s coast during a statement at Fort Macon State Park in Atlantic Beach Thursday.
In April, President Donald Trump signed an executive order aiming to expand off-shore drilling in parts of the Pacific, Arctic and Atlantic Oceans, including North Carolina.
Cooper is at odds with Trump’s order, and the governor argued off-shore drilling poses an economic risk to tourism and commercial fishing with no clear benefits for the state.
Specifically, his administration is concerned about oil spills and effects to the environment as well as the economy.
“There is no safe off shore drilling method that we know,” Cooper said. “There is little evidence offshore drilling would be a financial boom for this state.”
Thirty coastal communities, including Atlantic Beach, have signed resolutions opposing seismic testing and drilling.
“Clean waters are critical to our economy whether that’s real estate, tourism —so many of our jobs depend on that,” said Atlantic Beach Mayor Trace Cooper.
Seismic testing involves blasting air above the ocean’s floor to test for oil deposits.
Environmentalists say it could harm marine mammals.
The N.C. Petroleum Council disagrees with the governor’s decision, saying in a statement:
The industry has a long history of safe offshore operations and that developing offshore energy resources is critical to advancing our nation’s energy future.
The governor disagrees and said the state is a leader in renewable energy resources and those are the way of the future.
Friday is the deadline for the public comment period on seismic testing.
Cooper says the Department of Environmental Quality will submit detailed comments on North Carolina’s position against it by that time.
Gov. Cooper went on to say he believed there is little evidence off-shore drilling would be a financial boom for the state, and said “it’s simply not worth it.”
“We put our communities first,” said Cooper. “I am saying no to seismic testing and offshore drilling. This coast is part of who we are. It’s our duty to protect it.”