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North Carolina Department of Environment Quality

NC Department of Environment and Natural Resources
Energy Mineral and Land Resources - Offshore Energy

Energy Mineral and Land Resources

Offshore Oil and Gas Energy Program

North Carolina has more than 64 million acres of federal Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) acreage – the most on the east coast. The waters off our coast hold great energy potential for oil and gas as well as renewable energy development. Safe, responsible OCS development would create thousands of jobs in onshore, offshore, infrastructure and support industries.

On April 15, 2015 Governor Pat McCrory testified to the US House Committee on Natural Resources Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources regarding the future impacts of offshore energy plans in North Carolina.  Click here to read his comments or watch the video here.  

 

2017-2022 OCS Oil and Gas Leasing Program

The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) is currently developing the next Five-Year Program that will consist of a schedule of oil and gas lease sales indicating the size, timing and location of proposed leasing activity.The BOEM sees public input as a critical component of the safe and responsible exploration and development of offshoreenergyresources. Public engagement and comment is solicited for environmental review and regulatory programs for both oil and gas, and renewable energy proposals.

The BOEM opened a 60-day public commentperiodon the Draft Proposed OCS Oil and Gas Leasing Program for 2017-2022 (DPP) that closed on March 30, 2015. The DPP is for the 2017-2022 OCS Oil and Gas Leasing Program that will succeed the current 2012-2017 Program. The DPP provides the basis for gathering information and conducting analyses to inform the Secretary of the Interior on which areas to include for further leasing consideration in the 2017-2022 Program.

Governor Pat McCrory and Lt. Governor Dan Forest,on behalf of theEnergy Policy Council (EPC) as its chairman, each submitted comments to the BOEM on the DPP. The Energy Policy Council approved the letter at its March 25, 2015 meeting.

  • View the comments submitted by Governor Pat McCrory here.
  • View the comments submitted by Chairman Lt. Governor Dan Forest here.

In June of 2014 the BOEM requested comments to identify state specific laws, goals and policies related to Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) oil and gas activity that should be considedered during the preparation of the 2017-2022 program.  

  • View the comments submitted by the OCS Governors Coalition here.
  • View the comments submitted by Governor Pat McCrory here.  
  • View the comments submitted by EPC Chairman Lt. Governor Dan Forest here

Wind Energy Areas (WEAs)

There are excellent opportunities for wind energy development off North Carolina’s coast, and we recognize that energy projects must be consistent with ongoing offshore activities. The importance of maintaining natural viewsheds, protecting sensitive habitats and resources while minimizing conflicts with marine activities requires mitigation measures as we support offshore energy development.

The BOEM recently announced three Wind Energy Areas (WEAs) offshore North Carolina to be considered for leasing. These include the Kitty Hawk WEA, which begins about 24 nautical miles (nm) from shore; the Wilmington West WEA, which starts about 10 nm from shore; and the Wilmington East WEA, which begins about 15 nm from Bald Head Island.

North Carolina’s coastline is unique compared to other east coast states and its waters are consequently filled with a particularlydiverse and important mix of fish and other organisms at various stages of the life cycle,including a variety of endangered and threatened sea turtles, pelagic seabirds and marine mammals.NC DENR is working closely with the BOEM to bring offshore wind energy to North Carolina in a responsible manner that preserves our coastal economies and protects environmentally sensitive areas.

In January 2015, the BOEM opened a 30-day public comment period on an Environmental Assessment (EA) for North Carolina’s three offshore wind energy areas, which ended on February 23, 2015. The EA considers potential environmental and socioeconomic impacts associated with issuing commercial wind leases and approving site assessment activities on the lease areas.

  • View the comments on the EA submitted by DENR Secretary Donald R. van der Vaart here.
  • Clarification for consideration of cited economic analysis studies can be viewed here.

View Governor Pat McCrory's January 2013 letter in support of the decision by the US Department of the Interior to designate sites off of North Carolina's coast for development of offshore wind energy here.  

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