The New York Times reported Monday evening that the Obama administration is set to announce today that they have reversed their earlier position and have decided to withdraw their plan for offshore drilling permitting on the Southeast coast.
If true, this would bring a celebration to residents of the Outer Banks who nearly unanimously have opposed any prospect of offshore drilling for fear of an environmental disaster.
The New York Times quoted sources within the administration as saying the announcement could come as early as today and would come from the Interior department and the Bureau of Offshore Energy Management.
Governor Pat McCrory of North Carolina, Governor Terry McAuliffe of Virginia, as well as Senators from South Carolina, Georgia and Florida all supported the notion of offshore oil and gas drilling as a potential economic boom for those states from the leases that would be let by the federal government.
The unnamed Obama administration source indicated in the New York Times article that one of the main deciding factors in the reversal of the administration’s support for offshore drilling was the backlash received from coastal citizens, businesses and towns. To date more than 106 coastal towns have signed resolutions urging President Obama to reconsider the decision to provide leases to companies on waters off the coast that are under federal jurisdiction.
In March of 2015 more than 400 local residents came out to a BOEM meeting in Kill Devil Hills to show their opposition to the proposal. BOEM Director Abagail Hooper said at the time the turnout was “impressive,” and “among the largest we have ever seen from a local community.”
OBX Residents opposing offshore drilling
Recently the U.S. Navy also raised objections to oil and natural gas leases offshore indicating that the areas in question were locations where the navy routinely conduct military exercises and the presence of rigs would be incompatible with their operations.
“If this is true, it’s a great day for the Atlantic coast, our beaches and the coastal economy that depends on it,” said Rachel Richardson, program director for the drilling program at Environment America. “This moment has come because Atlantic coast communities, businesses and citizens have all spoken up to protect their beaches, treasured marine life and President Obama listened.”
We will keep you posted!