Raleigh, NC- Today, advocates and activists in favor of clean beaches voiced their opposition to offshore drilling at the Atlantic Drilling Forum hosted by the Consumer Energy Alliance, a pro-drilling group. This forum comes as the Obama Administration finalizes the second draft of the next 5 year offshore drilling plan.
“From Corolla to Sunset Beach, our pristine beaches are home to critical wildlife like loggerhead turtles, and draw millions of tourist each year to enjoy their beauty,” said Dave Rogers, Environment North Carolina Director. “Offshore drilling is a direct threat to coastal communities, and the only way to keep our beaches protected is to keep drilling out of the Atlantic.”
Coastal communities for the last year have been vocal about opposition to the current draft plan. Twenty-nine counties and cities up and down the coast have passed resolutions against offshore drilling development. Monica Thibodeau, local business owner and Mayor Pro Tem of Duck, said that her community sees the risks as far outweighing any sort of reward.
“As a business owner on the Outer Banks for over 25 years, I know the importance of preserving our most important asset, our beaches and waterways, which stimulate this near $1 billion tourism economy,” said Mayor Pro Tem Thibodeau. “As Mayor Pro Tem of Duck and council member for 12 years, I can attest that all of our towns and Dare County are united in strong opposition to oil drilling off our coast.”
Elected officials were also in attendance, including Representative Pricey Harrison of Guilford County.
"Offshore Drilling is dirty, dangerous, and inconsistent with our efforts to achieve a low carbon future. North Carolina has the resources to power the state with clean, renewable energy including wind and solar,” said Representative Harrison. “We hope the Obama Administration will listen to North Carolinians who want to protect our coasts from offshore drilling and the effects of climate change.”
Panelists included Abigail Hopper, director of the Bureau of Ocean and Energy Management, which is the government agency tasked with handling the 5 year plan. Jen Banks from the Southeast Wind Coalition also participated in the panel, and highlighted wind energy as a safe alternative for Atlantic Ocean energy exploration.
“We only need to look at the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill to see that offshore drilling in the Atlantic spells disaster,” said Rogers. “President Obama should listen to the voice of the coast and keep drilling out of the Atlantic.”