Weasel Words on Offshore Drilling

The Trump Administration has made clear that it is not “remotely serious” about its supposed decision to include the North Carolina coast in a “moratorium” on offshore drilling.

At a rally announcing this decision, Trump was quoted as saying, “And if you want to have oil rigs out there just let me know, we’ll break it off. I can understand that, too.”

On top of that, the U.S. Justice Department filed papers last week in an ongoing legal case concerning permits for seismic blasting tests for offshore oil and gas deposits. They said the supposed moratorium on drilling had “no legal effect” on the seismic survey tests. Naturally, this led concerned citizens to ask why oil and gas exploration would continue if plans for drilling were supposedly on hold.

“If Trump were remotely serious about protecting Florida and the Carolinas from offshore drilling, he wouldn’t be allowing oil exploration along the coast,” Kristen Monsell of the Center for Biological Diversity Action Fund said in a statement. “This Justice Department filing underscores the appalling emptiness of Trump’s election-year effort to hoodwink voters. Seismic testing’s sonic blasts harm whales and other marine life, and they set the stage for future drilling and devastating oil spills.”

Previously, U.S. Senator Thom Tillis announced that Trump had assured him North Carolina would be included in the offshore drilling moratorium. Such an assurance would seem to have been worth less than nothing. Tillis is trailing in the polls in his re-election campaign to a candidate (Cal Cunningham) who vigorously opposes drilling off North Carolina’s coast.

Both Tillis and Trump have long advocated for offshore drilling. Any announcements they have changed that position mere weeks before a critical election in which they are trailing strains credulity. We can have no confidence that their last-minute conversions are either sincere or likely to continue if they are re-elected.

Tell Tillis to fight for a real ban on drilling off our coast!

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