Two elected officials from North Carolina addressed a Congressional hearing today examining the impacts of the Obama Administration plan to open the Atlantic Outer Continental Shelf to oil exploration.
This morning, Governor Pat McCrory restated his general support for the plan to the House Subcommittee On Energy and Mineral Resources.
“Energy development is good for the country’s energy independence and it’s good for North Carolina’s jobs and future careers,” McCrory said. “Let’s start this process now and stop the delays immediately.”
Several oil company executives also supported the federal leasing plan, even as they criticized certain aspects of it including that only one lease sale will take place in the Atlantic.
“The proposed program must include access to broad areas of the Outer Continental Shelf because not every lease has oil and gas and even where oil or gas is found. It may not be economic to produce,” said Mark Shuster, an executive vice president at Shell Oil.
McCrory was particularly critical of the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management’s decision to create a 50-mile buffer between the coast and any future oil rigs.
“The 50-mile buffer omits several promising geological structures off the coast of North Carolina from the leasing area,” said McCrory.
Only one opposing voice was invited to testify.
“There is no place for this on the coast of North Carolina,” said Emilie Swearingen, a democrat and Kure Beach Town Commissioner.
Swearingen claimed that oil drilling would have a negative impact on tourism and the North Carolina ecology. She also pointed out that 50 coastal communities had passed resolutions against oil drilling off the Atlantic and Alaskan Coasts.
“Citizens living and working on our coasts have a right to decide for themselves if they want to allow drilling off their shores,” she said.