H. Roger Younts: Explore offshore in North Carolina

The Davidson County Dispatch | H. Roger Younts | April 27, 2018

New reports this week alerted North Carolinians that gas prices have already been going up, even though we are not yet into the busy summer travel season. According to AAA, unleaded regular now averages $2.60 per gallon across the country but was only $2.26 per gallon at the same point last year.

That’s not news to those of us who drive our cars to and from work, to pick up our kids, and to go to the grocery store. It can impact our bank accounts pretty quickly when the price of gasoline starts to creep up.

That’s why it’s shocking to me that our governor and some North Carolinians are against opening up areas offshore for oil and natural gas exploration. While our governor and environmentalists have been grandstanding on the reasons offshore exploration is bad for our coastal communities, they neglect to look at both the bigger picture and the facts of how restricting access could impact our energy supplies and America’s energy security overall.

One of the big reasons that gas has been more affordable in recent years has been the increase in domestic energy exploration in the United States. We should support continued exploration to help provide the same energy safety net decades down the road from now. When planning for our future, we should want oil and natural gas developed in the country that has the best regulations and environmental safety measures in place – right here at home. This means safer and more responsible development, as well as less reliance on countries that use energy as a geopolitical leverage.

Oil and natural gas supplies 65 percent of the energy Americans use – and that number is only expected to go up over the next 30 years. However, 94 percent of U.S. federal offshore acreage is off-limits to oil and natural gas development, leaving a majority of our homegrown energy resources untapped. Secretary Zinke’s National Offshore Leasing Plan stands to change all of this. We would be able to finally move forward with seismic surveying in the Atlantic, which hasn’t happened in thirty years, so that we can accurately assess what’s out there. The next step would be to determine whether or not there are resources that are worth developing – which could be years down the road for those who are only focused on what’s happening now, not the future.

Read the full editorial here.

H. Roger Younts is chairman of the Davidson County Small Business Coalition. He owns Younts Auto Trim Shop.