Commentary, News

Public hearing re: offshore drilling on the NC coast scheduled for next Monday in Raleigh

In case you missed it — and it wouldn’t be surprising if you did — the Trump administration has scheduled a single public hearing in North Carolina on its plan to open up the state’s coastline to seismic testing and, ultimately, oil and gas drilling. The event will take place next Monday, February 26 from 3:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. in Raleigh at the North Raleigh Hilton Hotel.

The following is excerpted from an editorial that ran earlier this week in the Wilmington Star News: entitled “Large turnout needed at offshore-drilling hearing in Raleigh”:

“The federal government’s only public hearing in North Carolina on plans to open our waters to oil and gas drilling and seismic testing is this Monday at a hotel in Raleigh – 130 miles or so from the nearest threatened beach.

That’s not too surprising. The Trump boat is tilted so far in favor of oil, coal and other fossil fuels, it’s a wonder it hasn’t capsized. (We guess we should count ourselves lucky the hearing is not being held in Asheville.)

President Trump has filled his offices with old oil-and-gas hands: Rex Tillerson, the former CEO of Exxon/Mobil; Scott Pruitt, the former Oklahoma attorney general who tried his best to block President Obama’s Environmental Protection Agency, and now runs the EPA; and Ryan Zinke, a former board member for an oil pipeline company who’s now the Interior secretary.

We’ve seen how Mr. Trump has all but moved to outlaw solar energy, slapping a 30 percent tariff on solar power parts and slashing funds for solar energy research. Clearly these folks don’t want a bunch of tree-huggers and snowflakes standing in the way of Smoky Progress.

They’re joined, of course, by 7th District Rep. David Rouzer, who’s said again and again that he thinks offshore oil wells would be the best thing in North Carolina since Krispy Kreme. (Rouzer, the distinguished representative of the state’s biggest coastal region, lives near Raleigh, so we don’t expect him to know about Britt’s doughnuts.)….

We want to repeat our position: We are realistic about our need for oil and natural gas, and, therefore, are not opposed in principle to offshore drilling. We also are realistic about drilling’s potential threat to our vital tourism and fisheries industries. At a time when oil is relatively cheap and plentiful (compared to the $5 a gallon gasoline of the Bush years) and the United States is becoming a net oil exporter, we believe possible benefits of drilling are currently outweighed by inherent risks. We believe there are many residents in our area who share those views. We wish our representative in Washington did, too….

(You also can submit comments online through March 9 at tinyurl.com/yawoltb8).

And then we should consider this: If we can’t get public officials who’ll stand up for our sounds and beaches and our unique coastal economy, maybe it’s time we get some new ones. You can make your voice heard on that issue, too, in November.”

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