Oceana Releases Economic Analysis and Urges Federal Authorities to Suspend New Oil Concessions | New



WASHINGTON DC – The international environmental group Oceana on Wednesday called on President Joe Biden to “end … the new lease” of oil and gas drilling sites along the US coast, including the waters off Carteret County.

The organization, in a press release accompanying the publication of a new state-level analysis of the costs of oil and gas exploration and production versus protecting existing coastal economies, said that the administration “has taken bold steps to tackle climate change” but “must go further to ensure that the coasts are permanently protected against new offshore drilling.

In doing so, the statement said, “would protect the states’ tourism, recreation and fishing industries and prevent climate pollution incompatible with tackling the climate crisis.”

David McGowan, executive director of the NC Petroleum Council and South Region director of the American Petroleum Institute, did not return a phone call for comment.

In an email interview Monday, Randy Sturgill, Oceana’s senior field representative based in Wilmington, North Carolina, said residents of the state’s coast were united in their opposition to offshore drilling.

“We are opposed to offshore drilling because what these numbers have shown has been evident to us for decades: protecting our coasts from dirty and dangerous offshore drilling means protecting tens of thousands of jobs and our coastal way of life,” a- he declared.

In the mid-2010s, most towns in Carteret County passed resolutions opposing oil and gas drilling and seismic testing for oil and gas, and Mr. Sturgill helped organize residents to attend board meetings and lobby for action.

The Carteret County Council of Commissioners did not pass such a resolution, but the Carteret County Chamber of Commerce did so in September 2015.

Governor Roy Cooper has opposed seismic testing and oil and gas drilling off the coast of North Carolina.

“The permanent protections against drilling will benefit North Carolina’s economy and provide long-term security for coastal communities and workers in some of our most important industries, such as fishing, tourism and ocean recreation.” , added Sturgill.

A crowd of blue-shirted opponents of oil and gas drilling pose for a photo after successfully urging the Emerald Isle Council of Commissioners to pass a resolution opposing the activity in October 2015 (Photo by Brad Rich )

Penny Hooper of Smyrna, who was deeply involved in organizing efforts with Mr Sturgill, said on Tuesday that she agreed with Oceana’s appeal to the president.

“Ban it forever,” she said.

She also said that the Biden administration should work to speed up the licensing process for offshore wind power generation in conjunction with the ban on oil and gas leases.

In 2016, President Barack Obama permanently ended the leasing of oil and gas in parts of the Atlantic and Arctic Oceans, but in April 2017, President Donald Trump issued an executive order rescinding the ban. He eventually backed down somewhat and announced in September 2020 a 10-year extension of the oil drilling ban off the coasts of Florida, Georgia and South Carolina – all states with Republican governors – but not North Carolina.

In January, President Biden suspended the oil and gas leasing program pending an analysis of its environmental impacts and economic value to taxpayers. The US Department of the Interior is still leading the review.

In North Carolina, according to Oceana’s analysis, the “clean” coastal economy supports 62,000 fishing, tourism and recreation jobs, which it says represents $ 3.1 billion in gross domestic product annual. The report states that “economically recoverable oil and gas” off the state’s coast would account for 65 days of domestic oil use and 57 days of gas use.

Oceana’s press release said the state-based economic analyzes “come as the Biden-Harris administration prepares to release its interim report on the federal oil and gas leasing program” and that the report, once published, “must result in an end to the new lease for offshore drilling.

“We must stop looking for new fossil fuels in the ocean if we are to protect our coastal economies and tackle climate change,” Oceana’s Diane Hoskins said in the statement.

The press release adds that ending new offshore oil and gas leases in the United States could prevent more than 19 billion tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions, as well as more than $ 720 billion in damage to people. people, property and the environment.

In addition, the statement said the analysis found that ending the new leases would protect the coastal economy, which it said supports around 3.3 million US jobs and $ 250 billion in GDP.

Contact Brad Rich at 252-864-1532; send an e-mail to [email protected]; or follow us on Twitter @brichccnt.



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