Is There Any Good Reason to Drill for Oil Off N.C.’s Coasts? | News
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Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Is There Any Good Reason to Drill for Oil Off N.C.’s Coasts?

Posted by on Tue, Feb 27, 2018 at 9:00 AM

This post is excerpted from the INDY’s morning newsletter, Primer. To read this morning’s edition in full, click here. To get all the day’s local and national headlines and insights delivered straight to your inbox, sign up here.

Earlier this year, the U.S. Department of the Interior announced plans to allow oil and gas drilling along the country’s coastlines, including North Carolina. (Secretary Ryan Zinke later backed off forcing Florida to do so, as Governor Rick Scott is expected to run for Senate and such a move would be hugely unpopular there.) The state’s only hearing on the matter occurred yesterday in Raleigh, which is, of course, hours away from the state’s coast.
  • From the N&O: “Michael Regan, the secretary of the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality, said he asked Trump’s interior secretary, Ryan Zinke, to hold at least one meeting near the coast, but was rebuffed. The crowd booed the mention of Zinke’s name, and Regan said Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper and the state’s environmental regulators are committed to fighting federal plans to expand offshore drilling.”
  • “But at a different news conference earlier in the day, supporters of offshore drilling and energy exploration made their case. The oil and gas industry would create good-paying, full-time jobs here if companies were allowed to prospect and later drill for oil and natural gas, they said. If the country gets more of its resources domestically instead of from other countries, the cost of gasoline and electric bills will drop, they added.… A flier provided by the pro-drilling speakers said opening up the coast to the energy industry would create more than 50,000 jobs in North Carolina with an average salary of $101,000 a year. Anti-drilling activists said it would be more like 1,000 jobs, mostly for out-of-state workers instead of locals. Neither side cited any evidence for their wildly different claims.”

WHAT IT MEANS: I have no idea how many jobs drilling will produce, but if you believe the fifty thousand number thrown around by the industry, I’ve got some prime Florida swampland to sell you. Even if the prospectors strike (black) gold out there, that promise is patently ludicrous. We’re not talking about Amazon here. Which raises two bigger questions: Do we really want to subject our coasts to the threat of another Deepwater Horizon disaster for the (sketchy) promise of jobs, when the U.S. already leads the world in oil and gas production? And do we want to take this risk to boost the profit margins of an industry whose pollution is literally changing the planet’s climate?

Related: The North Pole, which won’t see the sun until March 20, saw temps soar above freezing during what is normally one of the coldest times of the year.

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