July 20, 2017
‘Not off our coast’ — Gov. Roy Cooper announces his opposition to offshore oil drilling and seismic blasting
Gov. Cooper announced his opposition to offshore oil drilling and seismic blasting at Fort Macon State Park in Atlantic Beach. Cooper cited the need to protect the coastal tourism and fishing industries from any potential harm an oil spill or seismic testing would cause. He also said that the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality would submit arguments against seismic blasting to the National Marine Fisheries Service. Read a full update here.
June 6, 2017
National Marine Fisheries Service releases public notice for comment on seismic surveys
As a result of the executive order to reverse the freeze on offshore oil development in Atlantic, the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) has published a public notice (PN) for comment on potential seismic surveys (blasting) along the Atlantic Coast. The PN describes the process, the potential impacts to marine mammals and provides information on each of the five companies who have applied for permits and potential mitigation of the expected impacts. The North Carolina Coastal Federation is working with a coalition of environmental groups to inform the public of this ill advised action. Read the PN. The comment period ends July 21. Click to send your comment.
April 28, 2017
Executive order directs review of locations for offshore oil and gas exploration
President Trump signed an executive order on April 28 directing the U.S. Department of Interior to review locations for offshore oil and gas exploration, including those taken off the table in March 2016.
The North Carolina Coastal Federation is urging North Carolina residents to email Gov. Roy Cooper and ask that he let the federal government know the waters off of North Carolina’s coast should be off limits to offshore oil and gas drilling.
June 20, 2016
Federation requests federal agencies to consider evidence that indicates seismic surveys pose severe threats to fish
The North Carolina Coastal Federation sent a letter to the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) and a second to the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) requesting that BOEM reexamine its previous conclusion on the effects seismic surveys have on fish and that the two agencies enter into formal consultation to discuss the effects of geological and geophysical activity on essential fish habitat.
March 15, 2016
Oil drilling banned along Atlantic seaboard
Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell and Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) Director Abigail Ross Hopper today announced the proposal for the nation’s Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) Oil and Gas Leasing Program for 2017-2022. Within the statement, it was revealed that BOEM was withdrawing a planned oil and natural gas lease sale off the southeast Atlantic coast.
History of the issue:
The North Carolina coast has been off-limits to offshore oil drilling for nearly 30 years — and it should stay off-limits.
The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) released in January their Draft Proposed Program for 2017-2022, which included new program areas in Atlantic waters (see Figure 1).
On March 15, 2016, BOEM released a Final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) that examined the direct, indirect and cumulative impacts of oil and gas activities off the North Carolina coast. The BOEM decided to remove North Carolina from its proposal. Offshore areas are parceled into blocks that are categorized and sold to oil and gas companies, and previously, a lease sale was scheduled in the Mid-Atlantic region for 2021.
Keep updated on BOEM’s process [here].
Your comments influenced what was evaluated in the EIS, and whether or not sections of our offshore waters were ultimately included in BOEM’s 2017-2022 leasing program. We are relieved North Carolina’s offshore waters are no longer under consideration, but this is an issue that will likely come up again.