Center for Biological Diversity

Media Advisory, April 22, 2019

Contact: Michelle Myers, (415) 646-6930,    

Asheville City Council to Vote Tuesday on Resolution Opposing Offshore Drilling 

ASHEVILLE, N.C.— The Asheville City Council on Tuesday is expected to adopt a resolution urging federal regulators and North Carolina’s two U.S. senators to support a ban on oil and gas exploration and drilling in the state’s coastal waters.

The resolution asks the federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management and the Department of the Interior, as well as senators Thom Tillis and Richard Burr, both Republicans, to prevent offshore drilling and seismic blasting along the North Carolina coast.

“Asheville’s leaders understand that offshore drilling not only threatens North Carolina’s treasured coastal waters but fuels climate disaster,” said Michelle Myers with the Center for Biological Diversity. “Saturday marked nine years since the BP well blowout began spewing 780 million gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico. We can’t risk that kind of catastrophic damage to our coastal waters and communities.”

“This resolution reiterates the city’s commitment to the necessary rapid drawdown of carbon,” said Councilmember Brian Haynes, sponsor of the resolution. “We need to move away from all fossil fuel development, not extract new resources in coastal waters.”

Asheville is already one of 14 cities and seven counties in North Carolina, and more than 100 jurisdictions around the country, that have pledged to fully transition to clean energy.

“We commend Asheville for opposing seismic surveying and offshore drilling in the Atlantic,” said Michael Flynn of the North Carolina Coastal Federation. “This resolution demonstrates that support for our coastal resources and economy extends across the state.”

What: Asheville City Council vote on a resolution opposing offshore oil exploration and development

Where: Council Chamber, City Hall, 70 Court Plaza, Asheville, N.C. 28801

When: 5 p.m. Tuesday

Media Availability: Conservation advocates, including the Center’s Michelle Meyers, will be available for interviews.

The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management is expected soon to release the 2019-2024 Proposed National Outer Continental Shelf Oil and Gas Leasing Program. The plan is likely to include federal waters off the coast of North Carolina among the areas designated for oil exploration.

In April 2017 President Trump signed an executive order to expand drilling to the Atlantic coast from Delaware to Florida. Statewide resistance in North Carolina to the Trump administration’s efforts to expand domestic oil production has been mounting, with nearly all coastal communities united against offshore oil drilling, citing potential dangers to the coastal economy and environment.

According to a 2017 research paper produced by Duke University’s Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions and North Carolina Sea Grant, the state’s coastal economy was valued at $2.1 billion in 2013 and created an estimated 43,385 jobs.

Last week the North Carolina Coastal Resources Commission approved a resolution opposing offshore oil and gas exploration and drilling after determining the risks to the environment and the state’s tourism and fishing economies are too high.

Research indicates several endangered species, including right whales, are likely to be harmed by the seismic booms of oil surveying. An oil spill off North Carolina’s coast would threaten untold numbers of turtles, seabirds and dolphins, as well as the fish and oysters many North Carolinians rely on for their livelihood.

The Center for Biological Diversity is part of the Don’t Drill NC coalition, which plans to respond with protests around the state if the federal leasing plan includes North Carolina’s coast.

The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 1.4 million members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.

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