Offshore Drilling

Offshore drilling: Industry propaganda vs reality

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The myth of oil exploration coming to the rescue of a failing economy:

For years, Newfoundland and Labrador were known for being net recipients of financial aid from other Canadian provinces. As the fishing industry struggled, they steadily lost population.

That all changed in the early 2000s when companies began drilling in earnest along their coasts. Between 1988-2002, offshore bids brought in $900 million; from 2003-2014, bids yielded $2.4 billion.

That's $2.4 billion accumulated over 12 years. That distinction is important, especially in light of Newfoundland and Labrador's projected $1.1 billion deficit for this fiscal year:

NC's offshore drilling jobs: Propaganda or real projections?

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I wouldn't put a down-payment on a new boat just yet:

The creation of new jobs – tens of thousands of them – would be one of the greatest economic gains to North Carolina from offshore drilling, proponents say. Critics of drilling charge that the rosy job numbers are based on a flawed economic study commissioned by the oil industry. Reaching even those lofty numbers, they note, will requires hundreds of drilling rigs and a significant buildup of infrastructure that now doesn’t exist.

Just a personal anecdote: The guy who lived across the street from me (here in NC) for about ten years was a roughneck who worked on offshore rigs in the Gulf of Mexico. I think he was out there for three weeks straight and then a week off, and he came home every couple of months or so. He told me that was not uncommon; several of his coworkers lived in states not fronting the Gulf. Why is that important? Because many work from the assumption that out-of-state oil workers would be temporary, that once our own people got the proper training those jobs would be ours. It really doesn't work like that. And we also won't be paying less at the pump, as many groups like AFP try to imply:

In-depth reporting on NC's looming offshore drilling fiasco

Coastal Review is rolling up its sleeves to cover all the bases:

This is the first of more than 40 stories that we will publish over the next two months on offshore drilling and its potential effects on the N.C. coast. In our most ambitious reporting project, seven reporters have spent several months talking to dozens of people trying to determine what drilling might mean to the state’s coastal environment, economy and lifestyle.

We’ll run the results of all that reporting on alternate weeks, starting this week with stories about the history of drilling in North Carolina, the geology of the Atlantic Ocean and why oil or gas might be out there, the federal process that manages offshore drilling and the politics in Raleigh that are promoting it.

We'll try to bring these installments to our readers here at BlueNC, but since that's over a year-and-a-half's-worth of articles, we may miss a few. I'd also like to issue a fair warning to the rest of the news media: Much of the information provided to them, especially from the Governor's office, will be heavily tainted by industry lobbyists. Not only do you need to double- and triple-check the data, you also need to expose the relationship that produced that tainted data:

On McCrory's claim of "widespread support" in NC for offshore drilling

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It's neither widespread nor supportive:

He said the people of North Carolina support drilling. Does he have any basis in reality for that statement? Or by “people of North Carolina” does he mean his friends in the oil and gas industry?

It’d be nice if he could wrap his mind around wind and solar and talk to his buddies at Duke Energy about that.

Pat McCrory and "reality" seldom cross paths, and when they do, he usually gets all upset and shakes his fists at it. Art Pope really doesn't need to be in the administration anymore, he's already done his work to promote the Koch Brothers' agenda, and it will take years to get the stink of the fossil fuel industry out of the halls of our state government.

Astroturfing NC's offshore drilling debate

The American Petroleum Institute's puppets proxies invade Wrightsville Beach forum:

About 160 people showed up at the Coastline Conference and Events Center, the former train station, to grab a free sandwich at what was billed as an Offshore Energy Luncheon. The N.C. Energy Forum provided the eats. If you never heard of it, you’re forgiven. It is one of 27 state groups that are part of a larger effort known as America’s Energy Forum, which notes on its website that it is comprised of “concerned citizens committed to two goals – achieving energy security for our country and holding our elected officials more accountable in shaping energy policies.”

Some have disparaged the forum as a fake grassroots group. The Center for Media and Democracy’s SourceWatch calls it an “astroturf” project of the American Petroleum Institute, or API, the largest trade group of oil and gas producers in the country. API admits to it, though you have to search pretty hard to find it. There it is, though, at the bottom of the forum website in tiny type: “Sponsored by the American Petroleum Institute.” David McGowan III, the executive director of the N.C. Petroleum Council – an API group – later confirmed the affiliation in an email.

Unfortunately, a certain portion of our population have always been prone to believe unscrupulous salesmen and the "magic elixirs" they peddle, and the fossil fuel industry has become a master at creating organizations like Americans For Prosperity and other groups who use naïve people to help them increase their profit margins. It's all about the dogma, usually with a flag flapping in the background:

Invitation-only offshore drilling meeting cluttered with industry lobbyists

Membership has its pricks:

Among the groups that had representatives in attendance were the Consumer Energy Alliance, the Center for Offshore Safety and the Institute for Energy Research. These groups include members of the petroleum and related industries.

Reporters were allowed to attend Gov. Pat McCrory's closing remarks, after most of the other participants had left.

His staff told reporters and representatives of environmental groups that they couldn't come in because of concerns that their attendance might arouse allegations of conflict of interest in the permit process. And attendance by special-interest groups funded by the petroleum industry would not?

It's no big surprise McCrory's bungling staff would interpret "conflict of interest" in such an ass-backwards manner. The only conflict of interest that would have arisen by having reporters and environmentalists in attendance would be a conflict between the public's best interests and the greed of the industry and its Republican puppets.

Pat & Skvarla break the law again

By law, NC government meetings are open to the public.

But not the one next week in which high-level elected officials will be trying to shove offshore drilling down the throats of North Carolinians.

A high-level meeting scheduled in Raleigh next week for government officials to discuss offshore drilling will be off-limits to the public and to journalists.

Energy Summit draws industry reps and protestors

The happy talk express gets derailed:

Three protesters disrupted proceedings inside, shouting at speakers Jack Gerard, president of the American Petroleum Institute, and N.C. Gov. Pat McCrory, who responded to their calls against offshore drilling and hydraulic fracturing, also known as “fracking.” Continuing, McCrory added, referring to the protester: “And for that individual and other individuals who will now get in their car and fill up with gas or turn on their air conditioner or heater, they’re using energy from the same sources that they’re protesting against.”

That prompted another protester to call out at McCrory before being escorted out. Rob Kaiser, publisher of the Greater Wilmington Business Journal, who emceed the event and interviewed McCrory, spoke over the outburst to ask the governor how such environmental concerns are balanced with business interests.

And he just became part of the story instead of reporting it. This forum may not have been set up to allow questions/comments from the audience, but a journalist who drowns out somebody else's voice, even if he's trying to "smooth things over" and get some kind of answer the reporter thinks may address the protestor's concerns, is no journalist at all. He's a pundit, and we have more than enough of those. As to the Governor himself, his illogical mouth runneth over:

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