The post-2014 election era in North Carolina government is not off to a terribly encouraging start. As Tyler Dukes and Cullen Browder of WRAL.com reported yesterday:
Gov. Pat McCrory told a gathering of state and federal officials Thursday it was time to figure out what kind of oil and gas resources might lie off the North Carolina coast.
The governor was the last in a day-long lineup of speakers that included agencies involved with the regulation of offshore drilling as well as groups with close ties to the petroleum industry.
But aside from McCrory’s comments, the entire invite-only event was off-limits both to the public and environmental groups that say they should have at least had an opportunity to listen.
State and federal government officials met in a private workshop on Thursday to talk about the potential for offshore energy development off the North Carolina coast. The reason it was not open to the public, as Dome recently reported, was ostensibly to prevent the appearance of influence on permit application reviews currently underway by the federal government.
So, the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources explained at the time, attendance would be limited to agencies and elected officials. But actually, representatives of three associations whose membership includes the oil and gas industry were included on the agenda and attended.