MANTEO – The state Coastal Resources Commission voiced its opposition Thursday to offshore oil and gas exploration and drilling, the state Department of Environmental Quality announced.
The CRC passed during the recent meeting by a unanimous vote the resolution, “North Carolina Coastal Resources Commission Resolution to Protect the North Carolina Coast from Harm Caused by Offshore Energy Exploration and Production.”
The 13-member CRC, which met April 17-18 in the Dare County Government Complex, establishes policies for the state Coastal Management Program, adopts rules for both the Coastal Area Management Act, or CAMA, and the North Carolina Dredge and Fill Act and adopts policies on coastal issues.
CRC Chair Renee Cahoon explained that Gov. Roy Cooper and most coastal cities and towns in North Carolina as well as Florida and South Carolina have come out against offshore oil and gas exploration and drilling, according to the release.
“The time is right to take a stand, and I think we need to be united in North Carolina at this time,” Cahoon said in a statement. “We need to be leaders in this too.”
The resolution states, “the inherent risks to the region from offshore oil and natural gas exploration and drilling have the potential to irrevocably harm our natural environment, our economic wellbeing and our overall quality of life” and cites the ramifications from the Exxon Valdez oil spill in 1989 and the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in 2010.
The resolution also refers to numerous scientific studies that raise concerns about adverse impacts of seismic testing on marine mammals and fisheries.
“I applaud the commission and support their commitment to protect our coastal communities from the environmental and economic risks of offshore drilling and seismic testing. I look forward to working with them on this vitally important issue,” said DEQ Secretary Michael S. Regan, who addressed the CRC on the issue during the meeting.