I thought it was a good idea to provide an update since it had been a year since we last mentioned offshore drilling, as it relates to the Outer Banks. But then the exciting news came, after I had started writing this, of the Administration’s reversal in the plan to not include the Atlantic as a leasing option. The big talk on the Outer Banks was still all about #NotTheAnswer or #NotTheAnswerNC or #KilltheDrill up until March 15. The local Surfrider Chapter continued to make a lot of noise and was still making national news about saying no to offshore drilling for the Atlantic. The National Chapter really saw this issue as an important one as it ties directly to Surfrider’s mission and came on board with the Not the Answer campaign. Their campaign included a surfboard being passed around to local businesses starting in Florida and it moved up the East Coast ending up with over 1,000 signatures to show that they oppose offshore drilling. That signed surfboard was hand delivered to DC this past February. Well, it seems that the Obama Administration noticed all the opposition and on March 15 the Department of the Interior and the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management announced a revised proposal for the nation’s Outer Continental Shelf Oil & Gas Leasing Program for 2017-2022 which removed the mid and south Atlantic lease sales. They elaborated that the removal of these areas makes sense since the revised proposal focuses leases in areas with the highest potential, greatest industry interest and where there is already established infrastructure.
Bonner Bridge Construction Underway
The Outer Banks is one of the most unique and desired beach locations for visitors from all over the United States and the world. These visitors flock to the Outer Banks for many different reasons such as surfing, recreational or sport fishing, windsurfing, kiteboarding, family reunions, and weddings. The southern portion of the Outer Banks is Hatteras Island, which includes the villages Rodanthe, Waves, Salvo, Avon, Buxton, Frisco, and Hatteras. In order to cross over onto Hatteras Island, from the north, visitors must cross the Bonner Bridge. The Pamlico sound and Atlantic Ocean join under the two and a half mile bridge that connects Bodie Island and Pea Island. The Bonner Bridge, which was built in 1963, is the only highway connection from mainland North Carolina and Hatteras Island.