Governor Cooper Joins Governors in Letter Opposing Offshore Drilling Bipartisan Governors of 7 Atlantic Coast States Request Exemption from Offshore Drilling Plan


Governor Roy Cooper joined six other Atlantic Coast governors this week in sending a letter to Interior Department Secretary Ryan Zinke to express opposition to the Trump Administration’s plan to open the Atlantic Coast to offshore drilling and request exemptions for the seven states similar to the one granted to Florida.

Six Atlantic Coast governors joined Gov. Cooper on the letter:

  • Maryland Governor Larry Hogan 
  • Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy 
  • Delaware Governor John Carney 
  • Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker 
  • Rhode Island Governor Gina Raimondo 
  • Virginia Governor Ralph Northam 

Gov. Cooper has emphasized the threat offshore drilling poses to North Carolina’s coastal communities and worked to prevent drilling off the state’s coast. Last month, the N.C. Division of Coastal Management asked four companies to submit additional information about proposed seismic testing for offshore oil and gas resource development because their original proposals did not consider the latest scientific studies on the harmful impacts to marine life.

In July, Gov. Cooper joined coastal business owners and community leaders to announce that he and Michael Regan, secretary of the N.C. Department of Environmental Quality, would submit comments in opposition to oil and gas leasing for offshore drilling along North Carolina’s coast.

Following the announcement that Florida would be exempt from the drilling plan, Gov. Cooper urged Sec. Zinke to grant North Carolina a similar exemption in a call on Jan. 20. Bipartisan governors along the Atlantic and Pacific coasts requested similar exemptions.

CLICK HERE to read the letter or see below: 


January 17, 2018 

The Honorable Ryan Zinke Secretary 

U.S. Department of the Interior 

1849 C Street NW 

Washington, D.C. 20240 

Dear Secretary Zinke, 

We write today to express our joint opposition to the leasing, exploration, development and production of oil and gas in the Atlantic Ocean as proposed by the 2019-2024 Outer Continental Shelf Oil and Gas Leasing Program. We also write to request that our states and the Atlantic Coast be exempt from this program. 

Like Florida, each of our states has unique natural resources and an economy that is reliant on tourism as an essential driver. We support the notion of energy diversity, but the environmental and economic importance of the Atlantic Ocean must be weighed against the potential unintended consequences of these types of activities. 

More than one hundred and forty (140) local communities passed resolutions opposing offshore drilling in the Atlantic. They have also been joined by tourism associations, convention and visitors bureaus (CVB’s), businesses, trade groups, and legislators from both sides of the aisle. 

Not only are ocean and oceanside resources at risk, but also nearby bays, estuaries, coastal communities, iconic natural areas, and ports. The irreversible impact on ecosystems including marine mammals, fish, sea turtles, and other aquatic life that inhabit the ocean offshore is gravely concerning, as is potential risk and harm to our state’s economies, our natural resources, our military installations, and our residents. 

We appreciate the emphasis that you have placed on public input and urge you to grant our request to be exempt from this program. 


Governor Larry Hogan

Governor Dannel Malloy

Governor John Carney

Governor Roy Cooper

Governor Charlie Baker

Governor Gina Raimondo

Governor Ralph Northam



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