State News

McCrory backs offshore drilling

Posted June 30, 2008 4:02 a.m. EDT
Updated June 30, 2008 5:55 p.m. EDT

— Republican gubernatorial candidate Pat McCrory said Monday that he would issue an executive order allowing for deep-sea oil exploration and drilling off the North Carolina coast.

“America is faced with an energy crisis that threatens our families," McCrory said in a statement. "The solution to this crisis starts right here in North Carolina. As governor, I will lead in a new direction with a balanced approach to meeting our goal of energy independence. We will actively pursue alternative sources of energy while also welcoming exploration and production of hydrocarbon reserves off our coast."

Top Republicans have sought to lift a moratorium on offshore drilling so that states can have the option of allowing exploration off their shores.

U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Dole said last week she supports the proposal, changing her mind after years of opposition. McCrory's opponent, Lt. Gov. Beverly Perdue, opposes the idea, as does state Sen. Kay Hagan, D-Guilford, who is running against Dole for the U.S. Senate.

"You don't grow a new economy in eastern North Carolina by threatening the fragile coastal environment that is now the primary source of economic development activity," Perdue said.

McCrory said environmental concerns are overblown.

The Charlotte mayor said he would insist that North Carolina receives 37.5 percent of the revenue from oil extracted off the state's coast. The extra revenue and the new jobs drilling would produce could be used to protect the coast and help alternative sources of energy, he said.

"It's very hypocritical of us to pass the responsibility onto other parts of this nation or other countries and have us not participate when we are a major user of energy," McCrory said during a Raleigh appearance Monday.

The federal government believes the billions of barrels of oil off the U.S. coast wouldn't significantly affect production or prices before 2030.

A U.S. Energy Information Administration report last year also said the new oil would do little to move prices after that.