Offshore Drilling and Bald Head Island

UPDATE: In a major reversal, the Obama administration said Tuesday [03/15/2016] it will not allow oil drilling in the Atlantic Ocean, the Star News of Wilmington reports.  

The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management said opposition from coastal communities and concerns raised by the Defense Department and NASA about potential conflicts with their operations factored into the decision, reports the Virginian Pilot.

This is a huge success for Bald Head Island!  The BHI Conservancy, along with many other island organizations, have been speaking against the proposal (see below) since it was first announced in January 2015.


On January 27, 2015 the Obama administration announced a Draft Program Plan for Oil and Gas Leasing on the Outer Continental Shelf for 2017-2022 to open the Atlantic continental shelf from Virginia to Georgia to offshore oil and gas exploration. The Draft Proposed Program is the first of three phases required to develop the 2017-2022 Program.

In response to many questions and concerns about how oil and gas exploration and extraction might impact the Bald Head Island community, the BHI Conservancy staff compiled the fact sheet below. You will find that many issues are still considered to be “unknown”, for instance the economic benefit to North Carolina.

Please find a pdf version of our fact sheet here.

Please find a pdf version of our BOEM Comments here.

NOAA's Oil Spill Response Resources (pdfs)

Damage Assessment, Remediation and Restoration

Effects of Oil on Marine Mammals and Sea Turtles

Using Boom in Response to Oil Spills

Oil Spill Dispersant Applications and Monitoring

Shoreline Cleanup and Assessment Technique

February 17, 2015 BOEM Public Meeting Resources

Resources to Consider Fact Sheet (pdf)

Guide to Providing Comments Fact Sheet (pdf)

Programmic Environment Impact Statement Hand Out (pdf)

Read Courtney Spears' Blog Post from the 02/17 Meeting

Offshore Drilling News and Media Coverage

The BHI Conservancy does not endorse any of these journalistic or opinion pieces about oil and gas exploration and extraction off our coasts. Instead, by providing the following links, we aim to provide our community with various perspectives about this issue.

Additional Information

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA) Ocean Services
Deepwater Offshore Oil Development: Opportunities & Future Challenges

Bureau of Ocean and Energy Management
Draft Proposed Program FAQ
Oil & Gas Energy Program
Resource Evaluation Program