March 29, 2006

OB Sentinel Richard Burr comments

I wasn't at the meeting so I didn' hear the comments but I suspect that the Sentinel got it right when they quote Sen. Richard Burr (R. NC) disparging the possibilities of federal funding for COE Dare Beaches Storm Damage Protection Plan". Since Pres. Bush has dug a pretty big hole for the federal government and Katrina has pushed the deficit even higher it is not surprising that the good Senator would be pessimistic about funding for an admittedly expensive program not matter how deserving. What is surprising and alarming is where he thinks the money for such a project should come from:
“What you need is some type of permanent funding - such as royalties.”
And from where might those royalties come? That answer was part of the response to Outer Banks Visitors Bureau Director Carolyn McCormack who asked the senator about the future of oil drilling off the Outer Banks.
Burr said that the Congressional moratorium on offshore drilling that has protected the state's coast from that activity must be reaffirmed each year, but that at present, there aren't enough votes to do that. The Presidential moratorium still has a few years of life but the president can rescind it at any time.
In defense of Carolyn McCormack she has led her organization in opposition to drilling off the NC coast. Even a strong BN advocate like Commissioner Warren Judge dimissed this ploy after a meeting in Elizabeth City, where some real numbers about how much money might come to the state and how much might get to the county.
Lets hope that we manage to keep the two issues separate and don't see them bound together. BN should sink or swim (bad analogy sorry) on its own merits, likewise decisions on off-shore drilling need to be made without blackmailing communities or bribing state governments. Like the lottery, off-shroe oil drilling is not a good way for governments to raise money. Debate it as an energy policy if you wish but not as a revenue source.


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