Inconsistent drilling statements sow coastal confusion
CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA — A dizzying array of offshore drilling statements in the past two days about what sections of the Atlantic Ocean were being exempted from oil exploration and what parts are not has sown unnecessary uncertainty into what should be a clear process.
“These statements about possible policy reversals unfortunately do not inspire a lot of confidence about the long-term protection of our coast,” said Sierra Weaver, a senior attorney at the Southern Environmental Law Center who heads the organization’s defense against offshore drilling. “And as we keep saying, oil spills don’t know state lines. Whether it’s an arbitrary line at South Carolina or an arbitrary line at North Carolina, it’s not the protection that the entire Atlantic coast needs and deserves.”
Several media outlets are reporting that the Trump administration has told some North Carolina leaders it will add North Carolina to the list of drilling exemptions. But those same outlets noted that the White House hasn’t confirmed that.
Previously, the Trump administration issued an executive order removing Florida, Georgia and South Carolina from offshore drilling consideration for 10 years, reversing course on a pledge to open the entire Atlantic Coast to petroleum companies.
Several Virginia leaders have also asked for the Virginia to be removed from the Trump administration’s drilling plans. However, the news outlets reporting the request have not indicated whether the White House will agree.