Offshore Drilling

McCrory's dodging makes him a "back-door" Governor


Avoiding all those pesky questions about the risks of offshore drilling:

Approximately 70 opponents of offshore drilling gathered in Manteo on Aug. 28 for what was billed as a “peaceful demonstration” aimed at Governor Pat McCrory, a strong supporter of offshore energy exploration who was holding a fundraiser in the Dare Arts Council building.

McCrory entered and exited the Arts Council headquarters through a rear entrance, without acknowledging the presence of the protestors. Kill Devil Hills Mayor Sheila Davies, who attended the fundraiser and later joined the anti-drilling protest, said she thought the governor was aware of the demonstration.

He was definitely aware. Hopefully the protesters stuck around long enough to get a look at the donors who attended. They're just as responsible (if not more) than McCrory is, by writing checks to keep him in office.

Coastal residents up in arms about offshore drilling


And the un-democratic approach of local lawmakers:

Some 300 people showed up at the town hall that Monday evening, filling the meeting room and spilling into the parking lot. Angry locals waited as long as two hours to confront Mayor Dean Lambeth, who recently had signed a letter to the federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, endorsing a move to begin seismic testing for oil and gas deposits off the North Carolina coast. The letter had been written by America's Energy Forum, an arm of the American Petroleum Institute, an oil and gas industry lobby group. Lambeth had signed it, lending his endorsement as the mayor of Kure Beach, without any public debate.

It's a good bet a lot of those angry locals rely on tourism for their livelihoods, even if they're not environmentalists in the classic sense. And the last thing you want to do as a small-town Mayor is piss off small business owners. They can flip a local election in the amount of time it takes to say, "Start packing your stuff, we may have to leave town." And it doesn't take much to spread that outrage statewide:

The economic realities of offshore drilling the Atlantic OCS


Applying reason to a rhetoric-filled debate:

Taylor, in her presentation, explored the economic and other benefits that have been touted as reasons to pursue offshore drilling off the Atlantic coast. Enhancing the nation’s energy independence, lowering energy prices and creating jobs are the big three reasons often cited, but what’s the reality?

“We cannot be independent of a globally traded commodity,” Taylor said, referring specifically to petroleum products, for which prices are set on international markets.

An indisputable reality we've been trying to convey to the "drill, baby, drill" crowd until we're blue in the face. But they're either dishonest or don't have the capacity to understand, which is why we have to keep saying it:

Offshore drilling: Industry propaganda vs reality


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?


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


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.


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