StarNews Online, Wednesday, August 12, 2015
By North Carolina Department of Energy & Natural Resources Secretary Donald R. van der Vaart
In contrast to Wilmington's recent resolution, I'm confident we can successfully balance the economic benefits of offshore energy exploration with responsible stewardship of our environment.
During the past five years we have enjoyed an oil and gas revolution in America. The use of hydraulic fracturing has led to lower energy prices nationwide through the rapid expansion of oil and gas production on private lands. President Obama has signaled that he, too, wants to contribute to the energy revolution by opening offshore areas to oil and gas production, including areas off North Carolina's coast.
Gov. Pat McCrory also recognizes how much North Carolina and the nation stand to benefit from offshore energy exploration but is aware we must have the appropriate environmental safeguards in place before exploration begins. Concerns about protecting our coastal resources, our quality of life and our tourism-driven economy are understandable and not incompatible with the need to build upon our successes at creating jobs. In order to manage risks associated with offshore development, Gov. McCrory believes funding must be provided to the coastal communities that inherit the highest risk. As a national leader on the issue, and in contrast to the Obama administration, Governor McCrory has made it clear it would be irresponsible to allow offshore energy exploration without revenue sharing to provide coastal communities necessary resources for environmental protection and mitigation.