When President Obama opened portions of the Atlantic seaboard to drilling, the Interior Department established a buffer of fifty-miles to protect fishing and tourism. But Governor Pat McCrory strongly criticizes that restriction.
The Governor spoke before the U.S. House Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources last week. He says the fifty-mile buffer zone unnecessarily restricts development:
"The fifty-mile buffer omits several promising geological structures off of North Carolina from the leasing area. In fact, based on seismic testing data collected in the 1980s, application of the current fifty-mile buffer could put out of play as much as forty percent of North Carolina’s potential offshore resources.
McCrory is pushing for a reduced buffer zone, despite objections from Virginia.
The draft program proposes just one Atlantic lease sale in 2021, but McCrory is requesting more lease sales, and sooner. McCrory says North Carolina will back drilling, but only if the state receives a share of the revenue from offshore energy development.
A Kure Beach representative testified that hundreds of people in her small beach town oppose offshore drilling.