Last month, the Orange County Board of Commissioners told Gov. Pat McCrory and President Obama that we oppose offshore oil and gas exploration, drilling activities and seismic blast activities off the coast of North Carolina. We are not alone. About 80 municipalities along the East Coast have opposed these activities, including 70 percent of the coastal communities in North Carolina. In addition, 92 members of Congress, roughly 500 local and state officials, more than 300 businesses and several fishing interest groups have weighed in with opposition.
Our state’s coastline supports a $2 billion fishing industry, world-renowned recreational opportunities and beautiful beachfronts for 11.6 million yearly travelers. Commercial and recreational fishing are critical to our economy and quality of life, and tourism is the economic backbone of our state. An oil spill like the BP Deepwater Horizon disaster would devastate our economy, our coastal environment and our social fabric, and we are not willing to make that gamble.
Even the exploration of offshore drilling is dangerous. The federal government is considering the use of seismic airguns, which shoot dynamite-like blasts of compressed air miles under the seafloor, to look for oil and gas deposits. In a letter to Obama, 75 leading marine scientists said the activity likely would significantly affect the reproduction and survival of fish and marine mammal populations in the region.
We urge McCrory to stand with North Carolinians and protect the North Carolina coast from offshore drilling.
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Board of County Commissioners, Orange County