Offshore drilling opponents on the coast get boost from Asheville

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Would that all NC's major cities show the same support:

Since the spring of 2017 when a shift in policy by the Trump administration caused the prospect of offshore oil and gas exploration off the North Carolina coast to reemerge as real possibility, local governments from Currituck to Calabash have steadily weighed in, passing resolutions in opposition and in some cases multiple times. About 40 of the coastal region’s municipalities and all but two coastal county boards — Carteret and Brunswick — have put their opposition to paper.

One of the latest additions to that list, however, could be a sign that other parts of the state are lining up against new leases as well. In late April, the Asheville City Council unanimously passed a resolution against both offshore drilling and seismic testing.

Aside from Lousiana's Mississippi Delta region, I'm not sure there is another state whose coastal area is as vulnerable to toxic spills as North Carolina's. Spilled oil could (and would) easily migrate deep into our tidal wetlands, and there's no fixing that. It would be devastating to not only fish and other waterborne species, but also migrating birds. Having Cooper in the Governor's mansion is a huge relief, especially considering McCrory turned his office into the damn headquarters of the drilling effort:

North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality Secretary Michael Regan attended the meeting along with his top policy staff. Regan acknowledged that some elected officials aren’t signing on because they see it as part of a push by the administration toward alternative energy. But, the secretary said, even without considering clean energy, there’s a strong economic argument that the risk is not worth the return.

“It’s no secret the governor and I believe in a clean energy technology,” Regan told the group. But that, he said, is not the basis of the administration’s main argument, which is centered on the economic trade-offs. “We cannot afford the reality of a major offshore spill disaster,” he told the mayors.

As a candidate, Gov. Roy Cooper used his opposition to offshore drilling to pry votes away from McCrory in what turned out to be one of the closest governor races in the country. As governor, Cooper stepped up actions against leasing and testing, joining legal actions with other states. At the same time opposition along the East Coast picked up steam and Cooper and other governors, including Republicans in South Carolina and Georgia, have said they, too, want an exemption like the one granted to Florida over concerns about the risks to the state’s tourism industry.

Worries about the impact to tourism and the local economy appear to be resonating, especially on a coastline still reeling from a succession of powerful storms. A recent poll of likely voters in the 3rd Congressional District on perceptions about climate change, offshore drilling and wind energy showed a majority of the heavily Republican-leaning district now says offshore oil and gas exploration isn’t worth the risk.

Definitely not worth the risk. There's a spill in the Gulf of Mexico that's been going on for fourteen years that drives that conclusion home:

A new federal study has found that an oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico that began 14 years ago has been releasing as much as 4,500 gallons a day, not three or four gallons a day as the rig owner has claimed.

The leak, about 12 miles off the Louisiana coast, began in 2004 when a Taylor Energy Company oil platform sank during Hurricane Ivan and a bundle of undersea pipes ruptured. Oil and gas have been seeping from the site ever since.

Taylor Energy, which sold its assets in 2008, is fighting a federal order to stop the leak. The company asserts that the leaking has been slight — between 2.4 and four gallons per day. Oil plumes from the seafloor, Taylor executives have said, are from oil-soaked sediment that has formed around the platform, and any gas rising from the bottom is the natural product of living organisms.

“The results of this study contradict these conclusions,” the report, issued on Monday by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and Florida State University, concluded. Using sonar technology and a newly developed method of analyzing oil and gas bubbles rising through the water, scientists determined that the plumes are the result of oil and gas released from multiple wells. They also found that as many as 108 barrels of oil, or just over 4,500 gallons, have spilled into the Gulf each day as a result of the episode.

The sole employee of Taylor Energy is the widow of the dude that built said company, and she is worth over $1.2 Billion. She does a lot of charity stuff that entails getting dressed up and attending balls and such, but apparently stopping that leak is not important.

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