By Coastal Review on February 8, 2018
The North Carolina Coastal Federation and 13 other groups opposed to offshore drilling have chartered buses to make it easier for coastal residents to attend the only scheduled public meeting in North Carolina on the proposal to allow drilling for oil and gas off the coast.
Bureau of Ocean Energy Management staff are to be at the Hilton North Raleigh/Midtown from 3 to 7 p.m. on Monday, Feb. 26 to answer questions about the National Outer Continental Shelf Oil and Gas Leasing Program.
The meeting will not be a public hearing, but an “open-house” format during which attendees may arrive any time during the four-hour period.
The “Rally to Raleigh” buses will leave from Wilmington, Morehead City and Nags Head for the meeting. For $10 each, coastal residents can secure their seat on one of the buses.
Riders are asked to arrive 30 minutes prior to departure. Buses will leave at 12:30 or 1:30 p.m., depending on location, and return by 10 p.m.
“The federal government picked Raleigh to hold the open house event for the new lease plan for offshore oil and gas development,” said Mike Giles, coastal advocate at the federation.
“This decision seems to be a direct effort to suppress the voices from the coast who would be most affected by this destructive activity,” Giles said. “We decided it was important to bring those voices to Raleigh for an opportunity to be heard loud and clear.”
Gov. Roy Cooper, Rep. Walter Jones, R-N.C., the Dare County Board of Commissioners and the Town of Southern Shores are among those that have called on BOEM to schedule additional meetings in North Carolina, closer to the coast.
The following organizations have provided financial support to charter the buses: North Carolina Coastal Federation; Oceana; Cape Fear Chapter of the North Carolina Sierra Club; Cape Fear and Outer Banks Chapters of the Surfrider Foundation; Crystal Coast Waterkeeper; Citizens Protecting the Atlantic Coast; Southern Environmental Law Center; N.C. Conservation Network; N.C. League of Conservation Voters; Environment North Carolina; Center for Biological Diversity; Save Our Sea NC; and the Brunswick Environmental Action Team.
The groups plan a press event and rally at 6 p.m. at the meeting location.