A new economic assessment is the latest effort in the ongoing fight over possible oil exploration off the North Carolina coast.
The study, prepared for the Southern Environmental Law Center, is a direct response to the 2013 Quest Report released by the North Carolina Petroleum Institute, which represents the oil industry. The two assessments come to very different conclusions on the potential economic impact of offshore oil and gas drilling.
The report prepared for SELC claims that the $15 billion “ocean economy” would be put at risk by offshore oil and the industrialization that would accompany it.
The oil industry says much-needed jobs would come to eastern North Carolina, and have a positive impact on poor counties and communities that are just inland from the coast.
The Quest Report from the oil industry also includes income that would come from a federal revenue-sharing program. Currently, there is no plan to share oil-drilling revenue with the states – something Governor Pat McCrory has called for.
The Obama Administration announced earlier this year that it would open the Atlantic to oil and gas drilling in 2021. Four states – North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, and Virginia – are supporting offshore oil exploration.
The Obama Administration is expected to make a final decision on Atlantic oil exploration in early 2016.