Commentary

The best editorial of the weekend

This weekend’s top North Carolina editorial comes from the Greensboro News & Record. The subject: the Trump administration’s dreadful plan to introduce offshore oil and gas drilling off the fragile and beautiful North Carolina coast.

After rightfully blasting last week’s bizarre Bureau of Ocean Energy Management event in Raleigh (see Lisa Sorg’s excellent summary by clicking here) as a sham, the N&R editorial concludes this way:

“It’s going to stay there for generations. The stuff is not going to go away,” Mark Hooper, a Carteret County commercial fisherman, said about the possibility of an oil spill. “We have to have some sacred ground somewhere, and I would contend for a lot of people it’s walking on that beach, looking at that ocean.”

We agree. Our precious coast is not worth the risk. As for the promise of jobs, we’ve already got them, and offshore drilling would threaten them.

“Our state’s coastal tourism industry is responsible for 30,000 jobs and $3 billion in annual revenue,” Attorney General Josh Stein said in a press release earlier this year. “Commercial and recreational fishing support an estimated additional 22,500 jobs and $787 million in revenue each year. Visitors to the tarheel coast generated an estimated $650 million in wages and tips.”

“The safety record of oil and gas in the United States has been superb,” drilling supporter Matthew Horsley of Pinehurst said during a news conference held by drilling supporters.

To which we reply: Deepwater Horizon. It only takes one disaster to cost lives, destroy economies and leave environmental degradation that would affect generations.

From Louisiana to Florida, they’re still recovering.

“Gov. Cooper and other outspoken opponents of offshore energy development have said ‘not off our coast’ or essentially ‘not in my backyard,’” David McGowan with the North Carolina Petroleum Council said during the rally. “This is not a productive, responsible state energy strategy.”

Yes, actually it is.

What’s irresponsible is risking such a unique treasure as our coast for temporary financial gain from a relatively limited resource.

Trump’s proposal has drawn opposition from 14 coastal-state governors, Democrats and Republicans alike, including Gov. Henry McMaster of South Carolina and Florida Gov. Rick Scott, who has been promised an exemption from the drilling plan — an exception for which other governors, including Cooper, are now asking.

These people know what they’ve got, and they know what we know — it’s not worth the risk.”

Amen to that.

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