Just after Labor Day, President Trump extended a moratorium on oil and gas drilling in a portion of the Central and most of the Eastern Gulf of Mexico, and expanded the decade-long ban to planning areas off the coast of Florida, Georgia and South Carolina. During his remarks, the President extended “congratulations to Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, and frankly North Carolina.” Unfortunately, North Carolina was not included in the expanded moratorium so frankly, there is no reason to celebrate. If anything, the recent order should cause concern since North Carolina remains under consideration for proposed offshore oil and gas lease sales.
As background, the Bureau of Ocean and Energy Management (BOEM) is the federal agency responsible for administering the National Outer Continental Shelf Oil and Gas Leasing Program (National OCS Program) and established schedule for oil and gas lease sales, which is developed on a 5-year basis. BOEM is currently administering the lease sale schedule outlined in the 2017 – 2022 Outer Continental Shelf Oil and Gas Leasing Proposed Final Program that includes sales within the Central and Western Gulf of Mexico as well as Cook Inlet, AK.
In 2017, President Trump issued an Executive Order to implement an America-First Offshore Energy Strategy and develop a new National OCS Program that would allow oil and gas drilling along the South Atlantic. As a result, 2019 -2024 Draft Proposed Program , or plan for future offshore oil and gas lease sales, was released to the public for review and comment in January 2018.
Offshore drilling and seismic surveying for oil and gas exploration would not be compatible with our vibrant coastal environment and economy. That’s the sentiment from 100% of the oceanfront municipalities. The North Carolina coast has been off-limits to offshore drilling for over 30 years, help us keep it that way by contacting your local, state, and federal representatives to request they call for expansion of the recently announced moratorium to include North Carolina and the entire Atlantic Coast.
To learn more about the federation’s position against offshore oil and gas drilling, click HERE.