Gov. Roy Cooper can tell the Trump administration that public opinion is on his side as he seeks to have North Carolina exempted from offshore oil and gas drilling.
Fifty-three percent of respondents oppose the idea, a High Point University/News & Record poll finds.
It was released today, based on interviews with 439 North Carolina adults earlier this month.
It's not that they don't understand the potential up side, according to the poll's findings:
• 68 percent believe oil and gas drilling off our coast would produce economic benefits.
• 62 percent say it would reduce dependence on imported oil and gas.
• 56 percent say the oil and gas would increase American energy security.
• and 49 percent say it would reduce energy costs, compared to 35 percent who disagree.
At the same time, most think the risks are too great:
• 75 percent see potential risks to the ocean and coastal environment.
• 65 percent say it poses risks to the coastal economy, which relies on tourism and fishing.
• and 48 percent say it would delay the development of alternative and renewable energy, compared to 35 percent who disagree.
One more question went like this:
The governor of Florida succeeded in having his state removed from consideration for offshore oil and gas drilling. Do you think this makes it more or less likely that North Carolina could also be excluded?
More likely – 66 percent
Less likely – 20 percent
(Don’t know/refuse) – 14 percent
The governor of Florida has better political connections to the Trump administration than does our governor. The president himself owns a beachfront resort in Florida. Yet the concerns about offshore drilling are the same in both states.
Our governor should tell Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke that two-thirds of North Carolinians expect the same treatment for North Carolina that Florida received.