Date ArticleType
4/14/2018 Member News
Editorial: It’s not our call

Editorial: It's Not Our Call

April 14, 2018 

On March 19, county commissioners in Brunswick County, one of North Carolina’s coastal counties, voted not to take a stance on offshore exploration and drilling. They also decided to strike an item from their agenda that opposed offshore exploration and drilling. 

Saying they stand in solidarity with the state’s coastal communities which may be affected, and urging Gov. Roy Cooper and the General Assembly to oppose offshore petroleum production, Brunswick Commission Chairman Frank Williams said:

“We should focus our county’s resources on issues that are specific to county government. We need to get back to focusing on our budget, our water treatment processes. This is ultimately a federal issue. Our board is split on it, and we need to be very careful about issuing any sort of official agreement unless our board’s in unanimous agreement on it, and we’re not on this.”

The writer of a letter to the editor today requests that “every resident, business owner and even visitors” attend tomorrow night’s county commissioners’ meeting and ask (actually demand) that commissioners oppose seismic testing and offshore drilling off the Crystal Coast.

It’s a reasonable request. It’s also all milk toast and butter crème.

Offshore exploration, seismic testing and drilling, should it ever occur, is a federal issue. Pure and simple.

That hasn’t prevented, of course, untold county commission boards in counties up and down the nation’s East Coast from passing resolutions opposing it. To please or pacify their constituencies, the boards have been driven to say they oppose seismic testing and offshore drilling.

Does this stance they’ve taken really matter?

No, not really!

Those who oppose — adherents adamantly do — seismic testing and offshore drilling believe that because they have risen up in opposition neither offshore exploration nor drilling will occur.

As might be expected, or predicted, the announcement by the Brunswick County Commissioners angered the majority of Brunswick County citizens at the meeting, said Wilmington WECT-TV.

But Mr. Williams, their county commission chairman, was right. And courageous.

All the counties, and state governors, who have registered opposition to offshore drilling have done so believing they will have an impact on such a decision made at the federal level.

But while it’s a warm and fuzzy thing to do, county commissioners and citizens are better served focusing on specific county issues.

Like the Brunswick County Commission, but which didn’t so unanimously, we suggest Carteret County Commissioners unanimously declare they stand in solidarity with the state’s coastal communities who may be affected — because Carteret County might be — and that they urge Gov. Cooper and the General Assembly to oppose offshore petroleum production.

If they also choose to oppose offshore petroleum production, so be it. Do it and move on to items over which they really have jurisdiction.

Should the government decide that offshore petroleum production, oil or natural gas, is in the nation’s best interest, it will happen. Period. It’s not a North Carolina decision. It’s not a Carteret County decision. It will be a federal decision in the national interest.