AN ACT TO PROHIBIT THE EXPLORATION, DEVELOPMENT, AND PRODUCTION OF OFFSHORE OIL AND GAS IN NORTH CAROLINA COASTAL WATERS IN ORDER TO PROTECT MILITARY OPERATIONS, COMMERCIAL AND RECREATIONAL FISHING, AND TOURISM, AND THE BILLIONS OF DOLLARS THEY CONTRIBUTE ANNUALLY TO THE COASTAL ECONOMY, AND THE STATE AS A WHOLE, FROM THE PROFOUND RISKS OF OFFSHORE OIL AND GAS EXPLORATION, DEVELOPMENT, AND PRODUCTION.
Includes whereas clauses.
Amends GS 113A-119.2 concerning the review of offshore fossil fuel facilities. Adds the defined terms development, exploration, and production. Modifies the term offshore fossil fuel facility to mean facilities for the exploration, development, or production of oil or natural gas that have the potential to affect any land or water use or natural resource of the coastal area (previously specified that the potential affect was because of the size, magnitude, or scope of impacts of the facilities). Now includes in the term any equipment associated with a structure located in coastal fishing waters, including gathering systems and processing and storage facilities, and pipelines that are used to carry, transport, or transfer oil, natural gas, liquid gas, liquid propane gas, or synthetic gas (previously did not include gathering systems and processing and storage facilities, and instead included vessels).
Now limits the additional information required for the review of an offshore fossil fuel facility to those located more than three geographical miles offshore (was, for those located in coastal fishing waters). Makes conforming changes. Adds a new provision explicitly prohibiting the exploration, development, or production of oil or natural gas within the estuarine and ocean waters of the state. Specifies that the estuarine and ocean waters of the state include those ocean waters extending offshore to the limits of State jurisdiction. Additionally explicitly prohibits the construction or operation of offshore fossil fuel facilities in the estuarine and ocean waters of the state.
Amends GS 146-8 concerning the disposition of mineral deposits in state lands under water. Adds a new provision to explicitly prohibit the sale, lease, or other disposition of any submerged lands in the estuarine and ocean waters of the state for the exploration, development, or production of oil or natural gas, and the construction or operation of offshore fossil fuel facilities. Specifies that the definitions provided in GS 113A-119.2, as amended, apply to the new provision.
Amends GS 143-215.94CC, making any responsible person strictly liable for all cleanup and removal costs and all damages incurred within the territorial jurisdiction of the State by any injured party that arise out of, or are caused by, any exploration, development, or production occurring in waters beyond the jurisdiction of the State (was, any exploration in or upon coastal fishing waters). Specifies that the definitions provided in GS 113A-119.2, as amended, apply to the new provision. Removes the exception for damages which arise out of, or are caused by, a discharge authorized by and in compliance with a federal permit.
Amends GS 143-215.94GG, to require a person responsible for an offshore discharge to also immediately notify the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ; previously only required notification of the Division of Emergency Management) pursuant to rules established by the DEQ Secretary and the Secretary of Public Safety. Makes conforming changes. Eliminates the provision which established that no penalty can be imposed for failure to notify the specified entities if the owner or operator has promptly reported the discharge to the federal authorities designated pursuant to specified federal law.
Amends GS 143-215.94HH, to include consultation with the Secretary of DEQ in the development of the State Emergency Response Commission's oil spill contingency plan. Allows the Commission to consult with the DEQ Secretary and the Secretary of Administration's designees (previously, specifically permitted consultation with the Secretary of Administration's designee in the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Office). Makes technical changes.
Provides a severability clause.