UPDATE 08/19/15: During the Aug. 10, 2015, regular meeting of the Beaufort Board of Commissioners, the Board voted unanimously to pass Resolution 2015-07 in Opposition to Offshore Drilling Exploration and Activities off of the North Carolina Coast.
03/25/15: The letter the board sent to the governor and other representatives regarding offshore drilling is below:
DATE: March 25, 2015
RE: Comments to BOEM regarding offshore oil and gas exploration
To Whom It May Concern:
We are writing to express our significant apprehension about the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management’s proposal for oil and gas exploration off the North Carolina coast. While we are clearly concerned with the environmental risks, we are even more concerned by the lack of revenue sharing provisions to mitigate any adverse impacts exploration might have on our natural resources and local economy.
Governor McCrory has committed to investing a portion of the funds the state receives in coastal areas, but whether any revenue ever reaches North Carolina in the first place is a much more uncertain prospect. We are aware that the current revenue sharing arrangements between the federal government and the Gulf States of Texas, Louisiana, and Alabama do not apply to North Carolina. However, far from indicating that new arrangements for North Carolina will be forthcoming, President Obama has instead proposed canceling the revenue sharing arrangements already in place with other states. This move signifies a policy shift in the wrong direction; federal revenue sharing with oil and gas producing states will decrease, not increase.
Beaufort’s tourism-based economy, fishing industry, and our quality of life depend on the health and welfare of our natural resources, so we consider carefully any activity that poses a threat to our environment. Further, any arrangement where the North Carolina coast, and consequently Beaufort, would have to endure any negative environmental impacts without direct compensation is wholly unacceptable.
We recognize the importance of domestic energy production; however, a portion of the revenues generated by such production must go to the areas assuming the environmental risks. Without significant revision to the rules governing revenue sharing, the Town of Beaufort cannot support the proposed plan for offshore oil and gas exploration.
Mayor Richard Stanley
Commissioner Marianna Hollinshed
Commissioner Robert Campbell
Commissioner Ann Carter
Commissioner John Hagle
Commissioner Charles McDonald