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Shelley Vinyard,
Environment North Carolina

Tourism, marine life highlighted among top reasons North Carolinians love the coast

For Immediate Release

Raleigh, NC- With Valentine’s Day around the corner, Environment North Carolina Research and Policy Center released the Top Ten Reasons why millions of Americans love to visit North Carolina’s coasts each year. The factsheet comes as more and more coastal communities take a stand against offshore drilling off North Carolina’s shores.

“Whether it’s seeing a wild horse in the Outer Banks for the first time or surfing the waves in world class surf towns like Wrightsville Beach, millions of people love North Carolina’s coasts, and have their own special reason for visiting each year,” said Liz Kazal, Environment North Carolina Field Director. “This is what we stand to lose if offshore drilling is allowed off our shores.”

More than one million people visit North Carolina’s coasts during the busy tourist season, which generated over two billion dollars in economic activity in 2014.

Most notably, the factsheet highlights:

  • The largest estuary on the Atlantic coast is in North Carolina, providing 2.5 million acres of spawning and nursery grounds for various fish and shellfish.

  • North Carolina is home to ten historic and distinctly painted lighthouses. The Cape Hatteras Lighthouse, the tallest in the United States, has helped sailors navigate the “Graveyard of the Atlantic” since it was first lit in 1803.

  • Recreational and commercial fishing maintain a billion dollar industry thanks to North Carolina’s coastal fish habitats.

Last year, the Obama Administration announced plans that put North Carolina front and center for new offshore drilling exploration. Since then, thirty communities in North Carolina, and over 100 up and down the Atlantic Coast have passed resolutions against offshore energy exploration.

“We love our beaches, and want to ensure that they remain protected for now and future generations,” said Kazal. “President Obama should listen to the voice of coastal communities, and beach lovers everywhere, and keep drilling out of the Atlantic.”