McCrory applauds Obama admin's decision to begin seismic testing - WECT TV6-WECT.com:News, weather & sports Wilmington, NC

McCrory applauds Obama admin's decision to begin offshore seismic testing

Energy companies could buy new oil and gas leases and begin drilling in 2018 if they find profitable reserves. (Source: MGN Online) Energy companies could buy new oil and gas leases and begin drilling in 2018 if they find profitable reserves. (Source: MGN Online)
RALEIGH, NC (WECT/AP) -

The Obama administration has approved the use of sonic cannons to explore for oil and gas off the Eastern Shore, and North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory is applauding that decision.

Friday The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management formally approved guidelines for using air cannons in the Atlantic Ocean from Florida to Delaware. This type of exploration has been a hot topic for beach towns over the past year.

Both Carolina Beach and Topsail Beach have taken a stance against using seismic testing in the hunt for offshore energy reserves.

On the other hand, Kure Beach leaders said they will not oppose the use of seismic air gun testing, even after many living there protested the idea.

The Governor responded to the Obama administration's decision by saying, "We can finally being to assess the amount of oil or gas that could be beneath the ocean floor after decades of waiting on the sidelines."

The Associated Press reports energy companies could buy new oil and gas leases and begin drilling in 2018 if they find profitable reserves.

Guidelines were put in place to help protect endangered whales and other creatures from the loud noises and increased vessel traffic, but the government's environmental impact study estimates that more than 138,000 sea creatures could be harmed.

McCrory serves as chairman of the Outer Continental Shelf Governors Coalition, a group of coastal governors that advocates for energy expansion through safe and responsible resource development. Other states that are members of the group include South Carolina, Virginia, Mississippi, Louisiana, Alabama, Texas, and Alaska.

"I am especially pleased that there will be safeguards in place to ensure the safety of our wildlife and the integrity of our environment," McCrory said.

The decision opens an area of the Eastern Seaboard more than two times the size of California to exploration for the first time in decades.

"This is an important step in the right direction toward more jobs for North Carolina and our country, as well as greater energy independence for our nation," McCrory said. "I would like to thank the Obama Administration for its decision to open up the Eastern Seaboard for seismic assessment." 

Copyright 2014 WECT. All rights reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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