Local voices opposing oil and gas drilling off of North Carolina’s coast were apparently heard in Washington as the U.S. Secretary of the Interior is expected to announce that the Atlantic Coast won’t be part of the agency’s latest five-year offshore oil lease plan.
While the plan won’t be released until noon on Tuesday, a post on Interior Secretary Sally Jewell’s twitter account indicated that the Atlantic Coast won’t be part of the plan.
BREAKING → Next 5-year offshore proposed plan protects the Atlantic for future generations.SJ
— Sally Jewell (@SecretaryJewell) March 15, 2016
Drilling in waters offshore of the Atlantic Coast, including North Carolina, was first proposed in a January 2015 draft of new outer continental shelf leasing rules. The proposal prompted a backlash from area politicians and business leaders, who worry that an oil spill would decimate the region’s tourist economy.
Wrightsville Beach, Wilmington, Carolina Beach, and, most recently, Kure Beach town and city governments have all passed resolutions opposing offshore drilling. The county’s Tourism Development Authority also passed a resolution opposing offshore drilling in October, while at least 30 Wrightsville Beach businesses in August signed a letter to N.C. Governor Pat McCrory urging him to ban offshore drilling.