In response to requests from local leaders, federal officials have agreed to a public meeting on the Outer Banks to hear opinions on the sale of offshore oil and natural gas leases. The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management added the hearing at the urging of U.S. Rep. Walter B. Jones, the Dare County Board of Commissioners, the Town of Nags Head, the North Carolina Coastal Federation and others. They said the Outer Banks has a heavy stake in offshore energy development and that hearings in Hampton Roads and the Wilmington, N.C., area were too far away. Over the years, local governments have been strong in their opposition to offshore energy development, saying the risks to tourism and the environment far outweigh the benefits. The meeting is expected to be in mid-March, but the exact time and location have not been determined, a statement from Jones’ office said. At the end of January, BOEM released its draft proposed program for offshore oil and gas exploration for 2017-2022. It includes a 60-day public comment period at hearings or by mail.

Courtesy: OuterBanksVoice.com