Our barrier islands, under siege

From the Outer Banks to Sunset Beach, North Carolina has some of the country’s nation’s most famous beaches. 

Drawing more than 11 million visitors every year, North Carolina’s coastal communities give us a chance to swim, fish, surf, or catch a glimpse of hatching sea turtles. They also support a thriving fishing and tourist economy. According to the N.C. Department of Commerce coastal visitors spent roughly $4 billion in 2013 alone.

A renewed push to drill off the coast

In January, the Obama administration announced plans to open up the Atlantic coast, from Virginia through Georgia to offshore oil drilling. The oil and gas industry, along with Gov. Pat McCrory applauded the decision. Some of our state leaders, including Sen. Thom Tillis criticized the announcement as not going far enough, and have asked to move the current 50-mile limit even closer to shore.

Drilling has been banned on the Atlantic coast for 30 years—and for good reason. Gulf communities are still reeling from the impacts of the BP oil spill that happened in 2010. Now oil and gas interests have their sights set off the coast of Cape Hatteras, home to more marine life — including sea turtles, dolphins, and whales — than most places in the world. Ancient deep-water coral reefs off of Wrightsville Beach are also at risk.

How we can protect our coast

The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) is in the process of determining the next five-year plan for oil and gas leasing. That plan runs from 2017-2022, and could be finalized as soon as next summer.

We’re demanding that the Obama administration remove North Carolina from the plan. To make that happen, North Carolinians need to come together and voice their opposition to drilling.

The bill, introduced on the one-year anniversary of the Gulf spill by Sen. Bob Rucho, promoted opening North Carolina's Outer Banks and the rest of our fragile coastal areas to oil and gas drilling.  

After repeatedly failing to garner enough votes to override the veto, legislative leaders finally let their drill, baby, drill bill languish—for now. 

We at Environment North Carolina will continue to stand up for our beaches, and press for permanent protections for our coast.

 


 

Oceans updates

News Release | Environment North Carolina

Statement: Trump’s offshore drilling announcement ignores wishes of North Carolinians and leaves our coast at risk

This past Tuesday in a major reversal, President Trump announced he is extending the moratorium, which former-President Obama used to protect parts of the Atlantic and Arctic oceans from drilling and which the Trump Administration has sought to overturn, to protect the coasts of Florida, Georgia and South Carolina, but not North Carolina. 

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Blog Post

Our decades-long campaign to defend the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is not over | Steve Blackledge

The Trump administration announced Monday that it will begin oil leasing in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. We've been working for decades to protect this 19 million acre wilderness, and we're not giving up now.

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Blog Post

If a picture’s worth a 1,000 words then videos must be priceless | Jamie Lockwood

This year marks the 10th anniversary of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Our coast and marine life are still impacted by this devastating event and are still at risk from other offshore drilling disasters. Americans from coast to coast recognized this, and decided to speak out. 

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News Release | Environment America

Statement: House advances greenest budget in recent memory

The House Appropriations Committee approved funding for a number of important environmental programs Friday as part of the FY21 funding bill for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Department of the Interior (DOI). Most notably, the budget dedicates emergency funding for many of the infrastructure proposals in the Moving Forward Act (H.R.2), including $10.2 billion for the Clean Water and Drinking Water State Revolving Funds. Additionally, the bill blocks the administration’s attempts to: open the Tongass National Forest to logging; drill for oil in the Arctic Refuge; expand offshore drilling; weaken protections on toxic mercury and arsenic emissions; and open the Boundary Waters to toxic pollution from sulfide mining.

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Blog Post

Adding a fourth “W:” Taking care of our people and planet in the time of COVID-19 | Drew Ball

This past weekend, many of us celebrated America’s Independence Day. To me, the Fourth of July always felt like the half-way point of the year. Needless to say, it’s been a stressful first half of 2020 with COVID-19. Now that society is starting to slowly open, and we are allowed to cautiously venture out, we are being encouraged to practice the three Ws: Wear a mask; wait 6 feet apart to avoid close contact; and wash your hands. Now I’d like to add a fourth W: “Waste not. Responsibly use reusables during this time.”

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