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Nags Head Mayor: Offshore Drilling Threatens Tourism And Wildlife

an offshore drilling operation in the Gulf of Mexico
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The mayor of Nags Head says members of Congress should vote down a draft bill on offshore drilling.
Ben Cahoon testified in front of the House Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources.  The panel was considering a measure that would allow states to decide whether to open their waters to oil and gas exploration. The measure would also charge states a lost-revenue fee if they don't produce oil or gas.  

Cahoon told the committee offshore drilling threatens tourism and wildlife.

“Creating a ransom for coastal states to protect their coastal economies, way of life and military readiness violates core conservative principles,” Cahoon said. “I urge this committee to reject this draft and any cause to penalize coastal states for protecting their coastal economies.”

Governor Roy Cooper and four other Democratic governors also signed a letter opposing the draft bill.  Supporters of the measure say fishing, tourism and drilling can co-exist.

Congress is considering the bill, which would give states the authority to approve or deny oil and gas exploration. Cahoon said offshore drilling in any new areas is not the answer.  

“Unfortunately, this legislation would place an absurd penalty on coastal states, requiring states to pay the federal government to protect their coast, potentially costing taxpayers millions of dollars,” he said.

Will Michaels is WUNC's General Assignment Reporter and fill-in host for "Morning Edition"
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