The news has been filled with discussion of the prospects for drilling for oil off North Carolina's coast in the Outer Continental Shelf. The area in question is far offshore, more than 60 miles out, way beyond the field of view from the coast.
I have reviewed a neat summary of the law regarding offshore drilling. The bottom line is that the federal government has ultimate control as to whether drilling will take place in the outer continental shelf. However, the law prescribes a cumbersome series of steps that must be followed; and the states are given a major role in this process.
Of course, our radical leftist governor and state attorney general-- Roy Cooper and Josh Stein-- have already openly promised to sue. They are demagoguing this matter shamelessly. For Stein, this would be merely one more feather in his socialist cap. He is exceedingly eager to add to his lawsuit-of-the-month collection against the Trump Administration.
Their position is that no drilling can take place because of the theoretical possibility of an upset that can lead to the release of large amounts of oil, thus threatening commercial fisheries and tourism. That is not necessarily a likely event given the state of technology and environmental controls. And if it were to occur, its effects might only be transient and limited. But such considerations don't deter Cooper and Stein.
Every time we have a hurricane affecting eastern North Carolina, we hear stories about how poor residents cannot afford insurance, and are economically devastated by their losses. There are not enough good jobs for residents in that part of the state. Those people need another option to make a good living, and support themselves and their families. The oil drilling industry would potentially be a game changer for many of them.
Remain mindful that Cooper and Stein don't care even one iota because they would rather those folks become clients of the welfare state. Of course, these two men are part of a political tradition that drove away from our state textile, furniture and tobacco manufacturing. That was the Clintons' specialty.
One problem is that President Trump has already promised to make special accommodations for the state of Florida. The Republican governor there quickly issued objections to drilling off Florida's coast, and Trump relented without hesitation. Florida is a critical electoral swing state.
But the courts will surely intervene if one state is treated differently than the other states. The democratic socialists nearly always win their equal protection claims in the courts, regardless of the merits.
The law seems to afford the states and affected individuals wide latitude to sue the federal government. And given the fact that we have a liberal activist judiciary, there is no guarantee that the issue would be handled objectively in the judicial system.
President Trump needs to develop a process to assure that all the coastal states are treated the same way on these matters. And Republicans in the state of North Carolina-- in the General Assembly and in Congress-- need to continue to support drilling to counterbalance the leftist input originating from the offices of the governor and the state attorney general.