Gov. Cooper to sue if N.C. not exempt from offshore drilling


CARTERET COUNTY, N.C. (WNCT) — Gov. Roy Cooper said Monday he will take his fight against offshore drilling to a courtroom if he has to.

“If North Carolina is not exempt from offshore drilling, we will sue the federal government,” Cooper said during a visit to Wrightsville Beach Monday.

His visit follows a Trump administration announcement stating offshore drilling will be expanded along the Atlantic coast.

Outer Banks Wildlife Shelter director Brooke Breen said Cooper has reason to be concerned.

“Any kind of animal that’s out there, even people, it could, and will definitely, adversely impact,” said Breen. “Even if everything is done properly.”

Breen’s wildlife shelter houses dozens of birds she is concerned would be affected by offshore drilling.

Gov. Cooper expressed similar concerns.

“This place, our coast; it’s a part of who we are as North Carolinians,” Cooper said. “We must protect our land, waters and livelihoods.”

Breen said offshore drilling opens up the risk of oil spills, and she said her heart breaks when she sees the effects of a spill on the animals she fights to protect.

“You don’t know if they’re even going to make it or not,” said Breen. “You spend all this time and involvement for this one animal and most of the time they’re not going make it.”

Under President Trump’s plan, more than 90 percent of the U.S. outer continental shelf would be made available for offshore drilling, including the Crystal Coast

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