Supplies of oil and natural gas are such that the push for offshore drilling seems to have ebbed, so to speak.
But Gov. Roy Cooper is right to take a stand, and a strong one, against opening the waters of the Atlantic Ocean to offshore oil-and-gas drilling.
Cooper took his stand, appropriately, at Fort Macon State Park at the beach in Carteret County. He’s going to have the state Department of Environmental Quality submit formal arguments against such drilling off the Tar Heel coast to the U.S. Department of the Interior, but Cooper himself is four-square: The ban on this kind of drilling, the governor believes, isn’t just about protecting the environment and the ecosystems and wildlife along North Carolina’s coast, but also has a practical benefit – ensuring that North Carolina’s tourist economy isn’t put at risk.
One oil spill, after all, could mean tens of millions of dollars – hundreds of millions, for that matter. This isn’t discussed much by Republicans, who wrongly contend that the economic benefits of oil and natural gas exploration outweigh the risks. They’re wrong, and they always have been.
President Barack Obama had declared on his watch that Atlantic and Arctic waters would not be subject to future offshore drilling, but President Trump of course bowed to the business lobby, and to his own antipathy toward President Obama, in ordering the federal government to start again reviewing requests for drilling permits. Cooper is acting on his own and with right on his side.