Interior proposes opening huge swath of Atlantic to drilling

By on January 5, 2018


(Bureau of Ocean Energy Management)

Prospects for drilling off the Atlantic Coast are moving forward on a more ambitious scale with the announcement by the Secretary of the Interior that a five-year plan includes “the largest number of lease sales in U.S. history.”

The proposal, which would make oil or gas under 90 percent of the federal acreage along the Outer Continental Shelf “technically recoverable,” is part of a broader plan that includes allowing more exploration in the Gulf of Mexico, the Pacific Ocean and Alaska.

It follows President Trump’s April 28 executive order that reversed the Obama administration’s mandate to permanently protect large areas of the Atlantic and Arctic oceans.


Predictably, energy industry groups hailed the proposal while environmental groups condemned it.

“The administration’s new offshore leasing plan is welcome news for North Carolina’s energy consumers and economy,” North Carolina Petroleum Council Executive Director David McGowan said.

“By allowing greater access to our abundant offshore energy resources, this new plan would allow us to embrace our nation’s energy potential, create good-paying jobs, and grow our state’s economy while coexisting safely with local industries like fishing and tourism.”

Opponents of offshore drilling say the risk to the environment and tourism along the coast outweigh any economic benefits it might provide. Some say that drilling would simply produce resources for the industry to export rather than contributing to energy independence in the U.S.

Seismic testing for oil and natural gas off North Carolina is on hold while new information is gathered on its effects on marine mammals.


Coastal counties, including Dare and its towns, as well the administration of Gov. Roy Cooper are on record opposing offshore drilling.

It will still take years for drilling off North Carolina and Virginia to take place, if it ever does. A big question is how aggressively the energy industry is willing to pursue a much more expensive route to oil and natural gas as long as domestic production is already high and prices low.

Future administrations could just as easily undo Trump’s mandate as he did Obama’s.


Interior’s announcement said: “Inclusion of an area in the DPP is not a final indication that it will be included in the approved Program or offered in a lease sale, because many decision points still remain.

“By proposing to open these areas for consideration, the Secretary ensures that he will receive public input and analysis on all of the available OCS to better inform future decisions on the National OCS Program.

“Prior to any individual lease sale in the future, (the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management) will continue to incorporate new scientific information and stakeholder feedback in its reviews to further refine the geographic scope of the lease areas.”

See a more detailed look at what might lie ahead in The Atlantic »


  • David Smith

    Wonder if any of the proposed sites are near Trumps Florida estate?

    Saturday, Jan 6 @ 5:17 pm
  • Sean

    I’d like to scalp our political right now. I’ve neve been more ashamed to be an American but I’m always proud to be a north carolinian

    Saturday, Jan 6 @ 5:59 pm
  • AR 4567

    Hell yeah!!

    I love liberal meltdown MAGA

    Sunday, Jan 7 @ 11:00 am
  • dave

    Globs of oil and drill sludge attract tourists by the thousands.

    Sunday, Jan 7 @ 1:09 pm
  • Hank Hill

    OMG! All this whining by liberals! Ok, do we have to go through this again to educate you on this? First, it`s mostly gas that they are seeking, you know the natural gas that past Dare Co commissioners would let us have because of the propane cartels. Second, these structures are very beneficial to aquatic species and help local charter and private boats. Third, If any accident were to happen the current and prevailing wind would most likely send it out to sea. Forth, we are getting ready to lose the Navy towers so more structure would be great! Next would be jobs, shut up because jobs would be formed somewhere! Next, your ashamed to be an American, you need to grow up! All this is called common sense, if you want scare mongering with out thinking you need a life!

    Tuesday, Jan 9 @ 7:52 am
  • jeff

    Until everyone stops driving their cars, using chemicals or buying anything made of plastic we will need oil. The NIMBY does not apply when will all consume it directly or indirectly.

    Tuesday, Jan 9 @ 4:48 pm
  • Greg

    It simply will not happen. Far too expensive compared to land based production. In 20 years electric cars will cause oil demand to drop. Less demand means a lower price. There has to be a great deal of land and near shore based infrastructure to get the product from offshore to a delivery pipeline. With the oil price low it will not be profitable to build a complete system. One only has to look at the Louisiana and Texas Coast to see just how industrial this would be. Totally incompatible with tourism

    Tuesday, Jan 9 @ 5:04 pm
  • dave

    Hank, its quite obvious you know NOTHING about basic geology. I’m wondering if you even found your way to your high school science class. Why do you think Florida Governor had a hissy fit about drilling off his coast and Trumph gave in and said they wouldn’t explore off Florida. Google “Deep Water Horizon”. Where do you think natural gas comes from? In fact, sounds like you need to google a lot of things. Your writing skills are atrocious. Learn how to use punctuation and the correct form of “you’re” that you mis-used in your second to last sentence. You really do sound like Hank Hill.

    Wednesday, Jan 10 @ 2:49 pm
  • DeWe

    Nope, because Trump announced today there would be no drilling off Flitida’s coast at the behest of FL’s GOP governor, who is concerned his coastline is too ecologically sensitive.

    Wednesday, Jan 10 @ 3:09 pm
  • Drill x3

    Open the entire coastal areas for oil, gas, solar and wind power collection. Jobs and freedom from foreign energy sources!

    Wednesday, Jan 10 @ 11:10 pm
  • Really?

    So Louisiana and Texas don’t have any tourists at their beaches ??? Too funny!

    Thursday, Jan 11 @ 4:15 pm
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