A surprise win for the N.C. coast

From an editorial Tuesday in the (Raleigh) News & Observer:

The Obama administration’s decision to abandon plans for oil and gas drilling off the Atlantic coast brought joy and relief along North Carolina’s coast Tuesday.

Towns that depend on tourism need no longer worry about the kind of disaster that hit the Gulf Coast in 2010 following the explosion and sinking of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig. Yet it was that worrying in the form of objections from the military and petitions and resolutions from coastal communities that drove away the prospect of oil rigs looming off the coast.

The surprising decision puts Gov. Pat McCrory in an awkward position as he seeks re-election. McCrory has pushed hard for offshore drilling despite the local opposition. Now it looks like the president has done a better job than the governor of responding to the environmental and economic concerns of North Carolina’s coastal residents.

U.S. Interior Department Secretary Sally Jewell said her department reversed its earlier commitment to offer drilling lease sales in response to opposition.

Actually, it never did make sense.

“It’s a great illustration of how they were actually listening to the people,” said Kill Devil Hills Mayor Sheila Davies. “It’s a little surreal at this point. In a few more days maybe it will sink in a little bit.”