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Shelley Vinyard,
Environment North Carolina

New plan puts North Carolina in the crosshairs for offshore oil drilling and exploration

For Immediate Release

Raleigh, NC- Today, Secretary Sally Jewell and the Bureau of Ocean and Energy Management (BOEM) released the five-year draft plan for offshore oil drilling, and North Carolina is front and center.

“From Kitty Hawk to Cape Hatteras, the Outer Banks are one of North Carolina’s shining gems,” said Dave Rogers, Environment North Carolina state director. “We’re putting our natural heritage at risk if we allow offshore drilling off our coasts.”

Accidents and spills are among the chief concerns of expanding drilling into new areas, especially off of North Carolina’s coast. Five years ago, the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill dumped more than 200 million gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico. Gulf communities are still feeling the effects, especially the fishing industry which still has yet to bounce back after the spill.  

“As someone who experienced the BP Oil Spill firsthand, I’ve seen the damages that offshore drilling can bring to the coast from tar balls washing up onto beaches to pelicans and dolphins covered in oil,” said Liz Kazal, field associate with Environment North Carolina. “The prudent action to take is to keep North Carolina out of the plan for good.”

Senators Richard Burr and Thom Tillis continue to promote North Carolina for drilling, and introduced legislation last week to open up North Carolina’s coast to drilling.

Now that the draft plan is released, BOEM will accept input from citizens during the public comment period for both the leasing plan and the Environmental Impact Study.

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Environment North Carolina is a statewide, citizen-based, environmental advocacy group that works to protect North Carolina’s air, water, and open spaces. More at www.EnvironmentNorthCarolina.org.