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12.5.19

#TBT: Senator Thom Tillis’ First Senate Floor Speech Advocated For Off-Shore Drilling

Leading environmental group Environment North Carolina released a report this week detailing the extreme risks off-shore drilling would pose to North Carolina’s coastal communities. The report, which highlights both the economic infrastructure and ecological threat off-shore drilling poses to North Carolina, provides indicting context for one of Thom Tillis’ first actions as Senator.

In honor of TBT, here’s a look back at Tillis’ maiden floor speech:

In his first speech on the Senate floor, Senator Tillis called for allowing drilling off North Carolina’s coast and introduced an amendment to do so, despite bipartisan opposition to off-shore drilling in North Carolina. Senators often use their maiden speech to speak about their top priorities for their first term in office, and it’s telling that Tillis used his to advance a proposal that would have exposed North Carolina’s coastline to the risk of oil spills like the BP Oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010.

According to Environment North Carolina, the report issued this week concludes that off-shore drilling could:

  • Degrade estuaries’ water quality

  • Risk spilling oil across our beloved beaches

  • Pollute drinking water and tracts of land

  • Threaten local residents’ health through air pollution from oil refineries

Mary Baggett, North Carolina coastal business owner spoke about the kind of risk that could be caused off-shore drilling: “Obviously, any spill on the Florida, Georgia, or South Carolina coast would deposit on our North Carolina coast due to the Gulfstream and eliminate the beauty, recreational value, and serenity of our waters. A treasure we cannot afford to lose.”