Cooper vows fight over offshore drilling in Wrightsville Beach

Published in Lumina News on January 27, 2018

North Carolina will seek legal action against the federal government if the state does not receive the same exemption from the offshore drilling plan as Florida, which would protect the state’s coastline and tourism economy, Gov. Roy Cooper said at a press conference on Monday, Jan. 22 in Wrightsville Beach.

“This is what Washington needs to know: If North Carolina is not exempt from offshore drilling, we will sue the federal government,” said Cooper, a Democrat, a press conference hosted at the Blockade Runner Beach Resort.

On Jan. 4, President Trump reversed a previous decision by the Obama Administration and opened Atlantic and Pacific waters to offshore drilling.  The drilling plan introduced by the U.S. Department of Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke is one of the largest drilling plans ever proposed, which is expected to expand across approximately 90 percent of the U.S. Coastal waters over the next few years, including North Carolina, according to the department’s website.

The department recently exempted Florida from the drilling plan, citing the state’s tourism economy and its high risk for hurricane activity, according to Zinke. This exemption, however, prompted other coastal states to pursue similar exemptions, as many East Coast states also rely heavily on tourism economy, and nearly all of them have some risk of experiencing hurricane weather.