WASHINGTON, D.C. – Sen. Thom Tillis, R-N.C., has requested additional information on the recent decision to open the Atlantic Outer Continental Shelf for review under a new oil and gas leasing program.
The senator sent a letter Thursday with the request to the secretary of the U.S. Department of Commerce, the acting secretary of the U.S. Department of the Interior, the acting director of the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, and the assistant secretary for Oceans and Atmosphere at the Department of Commerce, his office announced Thursday.
Tillis points to the economic importance of tourism and fishing industries for the state in the letter and requested that the administration provide more information about the plan to ensure there are adequate protections for North Carolina’s coastal communities.
“While I understand that there are potential economic benefits coming from offshore energy production, I would like to hear more details about specific actions your agencies are taking to safeguard longstanding industries in our coastal communities,” Tillis says in the letter. “I also request that you provide information about how your agencies will guarantee that the issuance of geological and geophysical surveying permits are limited and do not result in duplicative surveying activities.”
In the letter, Tillis invites officials to join him for listening and educations sessions in North Carolina’s coastal communities to engage in productive dialogue.
“Lastly, I would like to invite you to join me in visiting North Carolina for listening and education sessions across our coastal counties on the topic of offshore energy exploration,” Tillis writes. “North Carolina’s coastal communities have been closely monitoring the issue of offshore drilling and surveying. A visit will provide an opportunity for your agencies to directly engage with stakeholders in an open dialogue about the potential costs and benefits of your proposed actions.”