by Becki Gray
Former Senior Vice President, John Locke Foundation
Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke is coming to North Carolina to meet with Roy Cooper tomorrow morning after meeting with South Carolina Governor McMaster this afternoon.
Both McMaster and Cooper are seeking exemptions from the Trump administration’s proposal to vastly expand offshore oil drilling from the Atlantic to the Arctic and Pacific oceans, including in more than a dozen states where drilling is now blocked. The five-year plan would open 90 percent of the nation’s offshore reserves to development by private companies.
All of this after a critical permit was issued last week allowing the Atlantic Coastline Pipeline to be built, as reported in Carolina Journal. Questions have been raised about a $58 Million “mitigation fund” that seems to skirt the constitutional requirement that all funds go into the State Treasury and then are appropriated by the General Assembly. Experts say the governor is overstepping his authority. If he is, it’s pretty ironic and a bit hypocritical coming from the Governor who has spent the last year suing the General Assembly over separation of powers issues.
But the best reaction so far is from the environmentalist group, Appalachian Voices:
Asked if this might be the rare moment that Appalachian Voices agrees with the John Locke Foundation, [Amy] Adams says: “Oh God, please don’t make me say I agree with the John Locke Foundation. Please don’t make me say that! But yeah, in this particular instance, projects are supposed to stand on their own merit. Not whether corporations have deep enough pockets to entice people. It begs the question: If the people of North Carolina had come up with fifty-seven million, would we have stopped the pipeline?”
Adams continues: “Now I’m going to go have a shot of whiskey. That’s a tough day when you agree with the John Locke Foundation. But in this case, they kind of are right.”
Environmentalists have staged a protest this afternoon at the Governor’s mansion. Secretary Zinke’s coming in to discuss his plan for unleashing America’s Oil and Gas Potential tomorrow morning. It’s going to be long weekend.