The release of the 2019-2024 Proposed National Outer Continental Shelf Oil and Gas Leasing Program has been postponed indefinitely according to Interior Secretary David Bernhardt. Bernhardt explained in an interview with the Wall Street Journal, published on Apr. 25, 2019, that the agency will await the outcome of the appeals process against the decision from a federal judge. This decision will determine whether or not the ban on offshore drilling for oil and gas off the coast of Alaska and within specific canyons in the North and Mid-Atlantic will be upheld.

This does not diminish the threat of drilling along the North Carolina coast. The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management scheduled open houses in Kill Devil Hills and Morehead City in conjunction with the release of the proposed program, providing an indication that North Carolina was going to be included. Early speculation indicates that the appeals process could continue throughout the year and would coincide with the 2020 presidential election.

Time is the ultimate gift of this news.

Time to continue to demonstrate opposition to offshore drilling in the Atlantic. Time to call your state and federal representatives to express concerns about the detrimental impacts offshore oil and gas exploration and seismic surveying would have if permitted along the Atlantic Outer Continental Shelf (OCS). Encourage them to support legislation that would prevent such activities from occurring.

H545/S517 – Protect the Military/Fisheries/Tourism

H.R. 337 – Defend Our Coast Act

H.R. 341 – Clean Ocean and Safe Tourism Anti-Drilling Act

H.R. 1941 – Coastal and Marine Economies Protection Act

Remember, to postpone something just means that it will take place at a time later than first scheduled. The North Carolina Coastal Federation and Don’t Drill NC Coalition partners will continue to track activity and provide up to date information about offshore drilling and seismic surveying in the Atlantic.

Don’t wait. Take action now!

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