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Attorney General Josh Stein Fights against Offshore Drilling in NC

For Immediate Release:
Wednesday, August 26, 2020

Laura Brewer (919) 716-6484

(RALEIGH) Attorney General Josh Stein today filed a lawsuit in federal court to block the federal government’s decision to override North Carolina’s objections to seismic exploration for oil and gas off the state’s coast. Seismic testing is a major, necessary step toward drilling for oil and gas off the North Carolina coast. Seismic testing uses powerful airguns that blast sounds at the ocean floor repeatedly for months at a time. These sounds, which are incredibly loud, harm marine and coastal resources – and could have significant impacts on North Carolina’s fishing and tourism industries.

“Protecting our state’s beautiful natural resources – and the critical economic benefits they bring to our state – is one of the most important mandates of my job,” said Attorney General Josh Stein. “North Carolinians have made their views crystal clear: We do not want drilling off our coast. I am going to court to fight on their behalf.”

The federal government’s override of North Carolina’s objections would pave the way for a proposal by WesternGeco, one of five companies seeking to conduct seismic exploration, to move one step closer to receiving necessary permits. North Carolina objected to this proposal because the company’s activities would be inconsistent with North Carolina’s coastal management program, which is designed to guide uses of the state’s coastal resources. North Carolina’s well-reasoned objection was made after the state conducted public hearings, received  numerous comments, and solicited and received substantial additional information from scientific researchers and others.

Filings are available here and here.