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PNS Daily Newscast - December 15, 2017 


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Could California Oil Spill Happen in North Carolina?

PHOTO: A recent oil spill along the California coast has North Carolina leaders and residents concerned about the potential for renewed offshore drilling along the eastern seaboard. Photo credit: MConnors/Morguefile.
PHOTO: A recent oil spill along the California coast has North Carolina leaders and residents concerned about the potential for renewed offshore drilling along the eastern seaboard. Photo credit: MConnors/Morguefile.
May 21, 2015

KURE BEACH, N.C. - The cleanup is underway off the coast of Santa Barbara, California, after an underground pipeline ruptured earlier this week, leaking crude oil over at least four miles of coastline.

While North Carolina's beaches are thousands of miles away, the Obama administration recently authorized offshore oil drilling exploration along the eastern seaboard.

Local leaders like Emilie Swearingen, Kure Beach town commissioner, are becoming even more concerned as they watch current events unfold.

"That spill on the California coast did not come from an oil rig, it came from infrastructure that had been abandoned," she says. "It could very easily happen here. I mean, never say never when we look at the oil spills all over the country."

Officials in California say the exact cause of the leak has not been determined.

Supporters of offshore drilling say it will reduce the nation's dependence on foreign oil.

Thousands of visitors are expected to visit the North Carolina coast this Memorial Day weekend, which draws more than 11 million people each year. Earlier this month, the state announced travelers spent a record $21 billion last year on the coast, a five percent increase over the previous year.

Swearingen says her community counts on the tourism dollars for its livelihood, and the area's beauty is the reason so many of her constituents choose to live there.

"There's no money in the world that could ever replace all of that and still support our quality of life," she says. "There's no place for such industrialization on North Carolina's coast."

Thirteen coastal North Carolina communities, the Dare County Board of Commissioners, the Outer Banks Chamber of Commerce and the Dare County Tourism Board have all passed resolutions against offshore oil exploration.

Stephanie Carson, Public News Service - NC