Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Perdue looking into offshore drilling

Posted By on Tue, Sep 22, 2009 at 3:12 PM

At least she's weighing the options and not running to the coast with a handful of drill bits. Love that she's assembling a team of scientists and engineers to help her make the best decision for our state.

Scientists, as you know, were all but excommunicated and confined to their homes during Bush II's reign.

Commenting on a U.S. Interior Department draft proposal to expand oil and gas drilling through 2015, Perdue said there are "several significant gaps" that make it difficult for North Carolina to evaluate the report.

Perdue also said Monday she is appointing a panel of experts to advise her on tapping into oil and natural gas reserves in the Atlantic and generating energy from the wind and sun.

The panel and the letter reflect Perdue's change of mind on exploratory drilling off the North Carolina coast, which she had adamantly opposed just 15 months ago.

"I support development of a range of domestic energy resources to meet our energy needs and enhance our national security," Perdue wrote to Interior Secretary Ken Salazar in a letter dated Sept. 18. "However, I also believe it is imperative that the states have the ultimate say in developing energy sources off their coasts."

The draft, filed in the final days of the Bush administration, anticipates three oil and gas lease sales in the Atlantic, including two that could be off the North Carolina coast.

Salazar has said he would likely seek to scale back the Bush proposal, which was generated after a drilling moratorium was lifted.

Salazar would approve a final leasing program after it's presented to President Barack Obama and Congress following changes and environmental reviews. But the states' viewpoints also would affect the final report.

The Southern Environmental Law Center filed its own comments Monday, arguing that drilling makes no sense off the southern Atlantic coast because there's a limited supply of oil and because oil spills could harm wildlife, fisheries and tourism.

"Our Southern coasts have an abundance of renewable energy resources, such as offshore wind, that, if responsibly developed, could help meet our energy needs, address the threat of climate change and generate jobs," said Marirose Pratt, a law center attorney.

Perdue changed her mind about offshore drilling during the 2008 gubernatorial campaign. At first, the Democratic nominee said in June 2008 that she was "100 percent opposed" to exploration off the North Carolina coast.

Perdue later said she would be open to offshore drilling if scientists prove it's safe and pledged to assemble scientists and engineers to give her advice on the issue.

Read the entire Sun News article here.

Learn more about offshore drilling (hint: it won't help us for decades and it's dangerous) here:

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