The recent federal government proposal to open up the North Carolina coastline to oil / gas exploration and seismic testing has generated waves on both a local and statewide level, with many organizations stepping up to ensure that coastal residents are represented in the ultimate decision.
The proposal would allow drilling for oil just three miles off of North Carolina’s beaches, and currently the only scheduled meeting for the public to discuss the proposal with the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) is being held in Raleigh on February 26.
Concerns have been raised by local and state officials, as well as coastal-oriented organizations, that the locale of the meeting, (several hundred miles inland), may deter coastal residents from attending.
Nevertheless, organizations across the board are taking steps to ensure that voices from the coast are heard.
At the Dare County Board of Commissioners’ meeting on February 5, the board unanimously passed a resolution reflecting their long-standing opposition to offshore drilling and seismic testing off North Carolina’s coast.
This is the fifth resolution passed by the Dare County Board of Commissioners since 1998, and the county website is also providing information on the proposed BOEM plan, as well as how to submit comments. (Click here to view the resolution and Click hear for information provided by Dare County.)
Meanwhile, the North Carolina Coastal Federation and 13 other groups opposed to offshore drilling have chartered buses on Feb. 26 to make it easier for coastal residents to attend the upcoming meeting.
The “Rally to Raleigh” buses will leave from Wilmington, Morehead City and Nags Head to bring people to the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management’s public Raleigh meeting on Monday, Feb. 26. These meetings will be in an open-house format.
For $10 each, coastal residents can secure their seat on one of the buses. Those riding the buses must show up 30 minutes prior to departure time.
“The federal government picked Raleigh to hold the open house event for the new lease plan for offshore oil and gas development,” said Mike Giles, coastal advocate at the federation. “This decision seems to be a direct effort to suppress the voices from the coast who would be most affected by this destructive activity. We decided it was important to bring those voices to Raleigh for an opportunity to be heard loud and clear.”
BOEM staff will be at the Hilton North Raleigh/Midtown from 3-7 p.m. to answer questions about the plan. There will also be a press event and rally at 6 p.m. at the same location. State leaders and experts will also stand with participants in opposition to proposed oil and gas exploration and seismic testing off North Carolina’s coast.
The following organizations have provided financial support to charter the buses: North Carolina Coastal Federation; Oceana; Cape Fear Chapter of the North Carolina Sierra Club; Cape Fear and Outer Banks Chapters of the Surfrider Foundation; Crystal Coast Waterkeeper; Citizens Protecting the Atlantic Coast; Southern Environmental Law Center; NC Conservation Network; NC League of Conservation Voters; Environment North Carolina; Center for Biological Diversity; Save Our Sea NC; and Brunswick Environmental Action Team.
The Outer Banks Chapter of the Surfrider Foundation is encouraging local businesses to close on Feb. 26 to allow coastal residents to attend the meeting.
To register for a bus ride and for more details on the ensuing trip, go to nccoast.org/rallytoraleigh.
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