Governor Roy Cooper along with several Atlantic Coast governors are opposed to a bill that would require states to pay hundreds of millions of dollars to block offshore drilling from happening off their coasts.
Gov. Cooper joined other governors from Connecticut, New Jersey, Rhode Island and Virginia issuing a joint letter to urge Congress to oppose the Enhancing State Management of Federal Lands and Waters Act. North Carolina could have to pay more than $500 million to receive a waiver to prevent offshore drilling.
The House Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources met Thursday. Director of Washington D.C. based Competitive Enterprise Institute Myron Ebell was on the panel and spoke in favor of the bill.
“If a state wants a moratorium on offshore development, they can actually get it. They don’t have to try to apply political pressure so that one state gets a special deal and the other state doesn’t. They can actually say we want a moratorium and here’s what we’re willing to pay for it.”
Opponents of the bill say offshore drilling would pose a threat to tourism, commercial fishing and coastal economies. Nags Head Mayor Ben Cahoon testified against the bill before the House Subcommittee saying an oil spill off Virginia or South Carolina would affect North Carolina communities.
“A spill in either of those locations, off either of those coasts, given our currents and various conditions offshore, could easily bring the oil to our coast and we would be in the situation where, hey, we’ve paid and now we have a mess. And it would be outside of our control and we would then suffer those economic consequences.”
Gov. Cooper said in a press release that North Carolina shouldn’t have to pay a ransom to protect our beaches from the dangers of offshore drilling. Coastal communities generate more than 30,000 jobs and the risk posed by offshore drilling simply isn’t worth it, he said.