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Tillis Says Trump Will Add NC To Offshore Drilling Ban

State officials worry offshore drilling could threaten tourism, fishing and the environment.
State officials worry offshore drilling could threaten tourism, fishing and the environment.

U.S. Sen. Thom Tillis says President Donald Trump has told him North Carolina will be included in a moratorium on offshore oil and gas drilling. 

The Trump administration had not announced the move as of midday Tuesday.

In a video message, Tillis said he had received the president's assurances after speaking to him Monday. "Our coastal communities and our tourism are vital to our state's economy, and I'm thankful to President Trump," Tillis said in the video. 


Trump announced three weeks weeks ago that he was banning drilling off the Atlantic coasts of Florida, Georgia and South Carolina. Those states all have Republican governors and members of Congress facing election challenges from Democrats who have made offshore drilling an issue. 

But North Carolina, Virginia and other states with Democratic governors have also made the same request. In a letter to the president last week, Cooper repeated the request.

Tillis is in a close reelection race with Democratic challenger Cal Cunningham.   

Carrie Clark of the North Carolina League of Conservation Voters, which endorses Cunningham, attributed the moratorium to the election being six weeks away and said "a certain senator and president are feeling the heat."

"No amount of election-year flip-flopping will change the fact that (Tillis) has a failed record when it comes to protecting North Carolina's coast," Cunningham said in a separate news release. 

Trump's decision to prohibit drilling in some states came despite his administration's previous moves to expand offshore drilling. 

Cooper has said that drilling and potential environmental damage would threaten North Carolina's $3 billion-a-year coastal tourism industry, as well as fishing and other natural resources.

He said in a statement Tuesday: "It’s good the president finally appears to have listened to the bipartisan voices of North Carolinians who for years have been fighting this administration to stop oil drilling off our coast. I will stay vigilant and ready to resume the fight in the event the federal government makes any move toward offshore drilling."

President Trump is scheduled to visit Charlotte on Thursday afternoon.  

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David Boraks previously covered climate change and the environment for WFAE. See more at www.wfae.org/climate-news. He also has covered housing and homelessness, energy and the environment, transportation and business.