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Hundreds Ride To Raleigh To Battle Offshore Drilling

Vince Winkel
WHQR Public Radio
Allison Stork of the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management explains offshore oil exploration in Raleigh on Monday.

Offshore exploration and drilling for oil and gas is a real possibility off the North Carolina coast, and on Monday hundreds of residents went to Raleigh to learn more and let their feelings be known.  Many of them came from coastal communities.

They came from Wilmington, Morehead City, New Bern, Nags Head, and a lot of places in between. By bus and by car, hundreds of North Carolinians went to meet with officials from the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, known as BOEM, a government agency within the Department of the Interior. The Hilton North Raleigh was packed, as this event was the only chance to meet with energy officials. Joe Maloney is a BOEM geologist.

“If you’re looking at oil in the mid-Atlantic, you’re looking at just under 2.5 billion barrels of oil that we assume to be discovered, and just shy of about 25 trillion cubic feet of gas.”

“It’s a good amount, but it is highly undiscovered. In that region a lot of the data we have is pretty old.”

Meanwhile on the other side of the hotel, anti-drilling groups held a rally. North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality Secretary Michael Regan.

“Folks, let me jump right to the punchline. It’s a simple phrase, you already know it. Not Off Our Coast.  Gov. Cooper has been clear, since we first heard the details of President Trump’s plan to drill off our waters. His message is not hard to understand. His message is not off our coast. Not Now. Not tomorrow.”

The Trump Administration’s 2019-2024 outer continental shelf exploration plan includes North Carolina. BOEM is accepting public comments until March 9th.   

For more on this topic, tune in to Morning Edition and All things Considered on Thursday, March 1.