Swansboro joins in the dissenting opinion:
Commissioners voted 3-1 at the board’s Tuesday night meeting to adopt a resolution opposing offshore oil and gas development and drilling and related seismic blasting activities off the North Carolina coast.
Commissioner Jim Allen said he wasn’t comfortable taking a stand against an issue that state leaders are working on with the federal government. Gov. Pat McCrory serves as chairman of the Outer Continental Shelf Governors Coalition. “I don’t think we need to be putting up roadblocks in their way,” Allen said.
If that pro-drilling group were composed entirely of government officials, there *might* be a sliver of credibility in Jim Allen's concern. But those Governors have allowed themselves to become nothing more than oil & gas industry mouthpieces:
Drawing on thousands of pages of documents obtained through public records requests to the offices of Gov. McCrory and other officials, Facing South has uncovered new details about the Governors Coalition and its close but largely concealed ties to HBW Resources, a corporate lobbying and public relations firm representing some of the nation's biggest energy interests, and the company's sister group the Consumer Energy Alliance, a "dark money" nonprofit organization that doesn't have to disclose its backers. Our findings add to previous details about the groups' connections reported last year by the Center for Public Integrity.
For government ethics watchdogs, the unusual relationship between the Governors Coalition and oil and gas industry representatives raises troubling questions about transparency, the blurring of lines between public and private interests, and who is driving the national debate about offshore drilling.
"The until-now hidden connection between energy interests and the Governors Coalition illustrates how big money all too often calls the tune in today's public policy debates," says Common Cause President Miles Rapoport. "Unfortunately, it appears these governors have surrendered their independence and are providing a front for the energy industry's drive to expand drilling for offshore oil and natural gas."
Someone needs to ask Commissioner Jim Allen and other pro-drilling elected officials just how "comfortable" they are with industry lobbyists being invited out of the lobby and into the seats of power, which are supposed to be reserved for voter-elected representatives. I'm not a PoliSci major, but I'm pretty sure that's not how Democracy is supposed to work.