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The map above shows the areas the draft plan could open to offshore drilling. Source: BOEM

                                                      send your comment

Your voice matters. We have another long fight to keep North Carolina off-limits to offshore drilling. Send in your comment today!

BOEM’s new draft oil and gas leasing program could open nearly all U.S. coastal waters to offshore drilling. The public comment period opened Jan. 8. Let the federal government know that North Carolina must remain off-limits to offshore drilling. Find talking points here and hereSend your comment. Plan to attend the Feb. 26 public meeting in Raleigh.

Public opposition to offshore oil drilling helped stop it from happening off North Carolina’s coast in 2016. It also helped convince Gov. Roy Cooper to take a strong stance against offshore oil drilling and seismic blasting. The waters off North Carolina should be off-limits to these destructive processes. They are too great a risk to this state’s coastal economy and environment.

Questions? Contact coastal advocates Mike Giles at or Michael Flynn at You can also reach them at 252-393-8185.
More information is also available at


Jan. 4, 2018

Federal government moves to open nearly all U.S. waters to offshore drilling

The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) released the draft 2019-2024 National Outer Continental Shelf Oil and Gas Leasing Program. This draft program opens almost all U.S. coastal waters to drilling, including the waters off the coast of North Carolina. Gov. Roy Cooper released a statement the same day reiterating his opposition to offshore drilling. BOEM is now collecting comments that will help with the development of the Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement. Learn how to send a comment.

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 29, 2017

BOEM releases public notice for comment on new five-year leasing program

BOEM published a public engagement notice for comment the new five-year leasing program for offshore oil and gas exploration that the Department of Interior plans to create. BOEM is seeking comments related to the potential economic and environmental effects of offshore oil and gas exploration.

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.

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.

Learn how you can contact Gov. Cooper.
Read Coastal Review Online’s article on the executive order.

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 2015 its Draft Proposed Program for 2017-2022, which included new program areas in Atlantic waters.

BOEM Figure

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. 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.

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. Read the latest Washington Post report.

Even after BOEM’s March 2016 announcement, seismic surveys continued to be considered. The federation sent a letter in June 2016 to 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. Read more about the letters. Read the letter sent to the Mid-Atlantic Fisheries Management Council asking that the council also send letters to BOEM and NMFS.

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