Gov. McCrory Wants Oil and Gas Drilling Closer To Outer Banks
Governor McCrory was in Washington, DC recently telling a Congressional Committee that a 50-mile buffer is too much and that oil and gas drilling should commence even closer to North Carolina's outer banks.
North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory is bashing the federal proposal to include a 50-mile buffer between the coastline and drilling for oil and gas in the Atlantic Ocean, telling a U.S. House subcommittee Wednesday that the plan would restrict development for no reason.
The Republican governor told the House Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources that Atlantic drilling is good for North Carolina jobs, and that there is “widespread support” in the state. He said North Carolina will back drilling, though, only if the state receives a share of the money from offshore energy production, raising the stakes for proposals in Congress to give states a share of the federal leasing fees and royalties.
President Barack Obama moved this year to open the waters off North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia and Virginia to drilling, over the objections of environmental groups and many who live in Atlantic coastal towns. The Interior Department plans to hold an Atlantic lease sale in 2021.
In order to protect fishing, tourism and other coastal activities, the Interior Department said it would forbid drilling within 50 miles of the shore.
McCrory told the House panel, which was conducting an oversight hearing of Obama’s offshore drilling plan, that the buffer is a bad idea.
“That 50-mile buffer right now unnecessarily puts much of North Carolina’s most accessible and undiscovered resources, frankly, under lock and key,” McCrory said.
The last seismic surveys of the mid-Atlantic’s oil and gas resources were three decades ago, and those explorations used outdated technology . But McCrory said the surveys indicated the proposed buffer might put up to 40 percent of North Carolina’s offshore oil and natural gas off limits.