We won this fight; what happened?
President Trump issued an executive order on Friday, April 28, to direct the Department of the Interior to evaluate expanding offshore drilling leases into areas beyond the already-established 2017-2022 drilling plans. For us in North Carolina, this means that our coastline is back on the table for dangerous oil and gas extraction.
There is too much at stake to put our coastal ecosystems at risk. Don’t forget: our movement WON on March 15, 2016 when the Obama Administration released its final 5-year drilling lease plans with zero mention of the Mid-Atlantic.
North Carolina citizens are concerned about what opening our coast to offshore drilling means for them, their families, and their communities. Offshore drilling is not just an issue that will impact our state’s coastline. In fact, this type of energy exploration and the risks it pose could have enormous consequences on our state’s economy – whether negatively impacting tourism, fishing, or recreation.
Despite promises of improved technology after the disastrous Deepwater Horizon oil spill in 2010, there is no 100% guarantee on avoiding spills. Based on average national rates, the expected annual loss from oil spills off NC’s coast is $83 million. Additionally, spills bring their impact onshore, affecting the property values in surrounding counties. Early estimates note that these costs could reduce property values by between $636 million and $4.7 billion dollars. Moreover, the impact from oil spills has serious long term consequences. The long-term toxic effects can impair reproductive success for marine mammals, sea birds, fish, shellfish, and other critical sea life, which have ripple effects on our coastal economy and ecology.
The estimated amount of oil and gas reserves off North Carolina’s coast is a paltry 3% and 6%, respectively, of the total national supply. Based on current consumption rates, the amount of recoverable oil and gas from our coast would only meet domestic demand for 38 days (oil) and 98 days (gas). After spending years constructing the infrastructure to drill, causing habitat-destruction in its wake, our oil and gas producing days would cease to exist after four months. Even an occasional gambler knows that this is not a smart investment.