Controversy over offshore drilling along NC coast

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GUILFORD COUNTY, N.C. -- The federal government is proposing offshore drilling along the North Carolina coast. This is a part of the Outer Continental Shelf Oil and Gas Leasing Program for 2017-2022. Opponents are using the California oil spill in their argument of why they don’t want drilling along the Atlantic Coast.

One way the nation supports its energy source is through offshore drilling. Federal officials are exploring locations for oil and gas production, independent of foreign sources.

Federal representatives want to tap into the Atlantic Coast -- areas offshore Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia. Currently, federal officials are conducting tests and doing research to consider leasing these areas for offshore drilling. The U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) and Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) are the agencies involved in developing the plan.

Although in the early stages, the Atlantic Coast has been put on the short list of areas to be considered. Environmentalist fear the potential dangers of an oil spill, pointing out this week’s oil spill in California and the impacts on the environment. Opponents to offshore drilling also point out alternatives such as offshore wind, which environmentalists say is safer and more efficient.

North Carolina government officials are split on the issue. Gov. Pat McCrory supports offshore drilling along the coast, telling FOX8 safe energy production “will create jobs, strengthen our economy and advance the nation’s energy security.”

N.C. House Representatives Pricey Harrison and Cecil Brockman -- both representing Guilford County -- oppose it, telling FOX8 the potential dangers of an oil spill poses great risks to tourism, the economy and beaches.

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