(Cross-posted at the new Appalachian Voices blog)
Don't always agree with Governor Easley. Not always impressed with him. But he has been kicking ass on the environment, first with his opposition to the sale of the National Forests. Now this.
There is an offshore drilling moratorium for the Pacific and Atlantic Coasts that isn't set to expire until 2012. However, there are some special interests in Virginia that want to see that overturned much sooner. Like...now.
Governor Mike Easley (D-NC) opposes overturning the moratorium. Im glad he recognizes that overturning the ban would hurt the fragile ecosystems of Albermarle and Pamlico Sounds, the Outer Banks, and the entire Atlantic Coast of NC.
From the News-Observer:
"While it is clear that the United States must become more energy independent, such independence must not come at the cost of the fragile ecosystems and vital tourism economy of our coast," Easley said in a statement quoting a letter he wrote
The ban remains very popular, but as we saw earlier this year while working on the Virginia Clean Smokestacks Act, the power companies that control the state and the Legislature don't care too much about the people or environment of Virginia. Governor Easley wisely has started to speak up before VA power companies could really get the ball rolling on this.
Given North Carolina's support for the moratorium and concern about the effect of drilling, "I respectfully request that you remove any sale off the Virginia coast from consideration," Easley wrote to the Minerals Management Service of the U.S. Department of Interior as it collects comment on its proposed oil and gas leasing program for 2007-12.
(A little more history here)