Attorney General calls changes to offshore drilling rules a 'terrible step backwards'

Attorney General calls changes to offshore drilling rules a 'terrible step backwards'

WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein is fighting plans for offshore drilling off our coast.

He said the federal government is pushing a plan that would allow oil exploration off of North Carolina and at the same time, the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) wants to change a rule put into place to reduce the likelihood of a blowout similar to the one that caused the Deepwater Horizon disaster.

Stein submitted comments opposing BSEE plans to significantly revise the Well Control Rule.

The rule was put into place two years after the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in 2010, which killed 11 people and caused unprecedented environmental damage.

The rules included requirements for equipment and regulated inspections and reporting.

The proposed changes to the rule come as the Bureau of Ocean Management plans to expand offshore drilling to our coast.

Stein says the federal government wants to weaken offshore drilling regulations and he doesn't want to see that happen.

"I am doing everything in my power to protect North Carolina's pristine coasts, the billions of dollars of economic activity and the tens of thousands of jobs that depend on it," he said. "We made it crystal clear to the EPA administrator that North Carolina needs to be exempted from any proposal he's got. He already said that Florida shouldn't be covered because they depend on tourism. Everyone in North Carolina knows we depend on tourism and fisheries as well."

Attorneys General from Maryland, Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Virginia, Oregon, and Washington also submitted comments opposing the changes to the rules, which Stein called a "terrible step backwards."

Stein said he is willing to take the federal government to court to stop offshore drilling off our coast.

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