As Tar Balls Wash Up On Gulf Coast, Support For Drilling Plummets In North Carolina

As BP attempts to once again plug the massive oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico, balls of tar have begun washing up on the “prized white sands” of the Louisiana and Alabama coasts, alongside dead dolphins, sea turtles and 600 dead catfish. The Coast Guard released these photos yesterday of tar on Raccoon Island in Louisiana, “a protected bird breeding sanctuary with a variety of breeds“:


As ThinkProgress has noted, a number former pro-drilling advocates from affected states have reconsidered their support in the wake of the disaster. In Florida, which could face major economic fallout from the spill, Gov. Charlie Crist (I) said the disaster convinced him that offshore drilling “certainly isn’t safe enough,” and today called for a constitutional amendment to ban drilling off his state’s coast. A majority of voters in Florida now oppose drilling, in “stark contrast” to a poll from last year which showed majority support.

A new PPP poll shows that even in North Carolina, which is not likely to be directly affected by the spill, support for drilling has fallen off precipitously:

In April 61% of voters said they supported it with only 26% opposed. Now in the wake of the spill in the Gulf support has declined to 47% with 38% of voters against it. This is the first time PPP has ever found less than majority support for drilling in the state.

It’s unusual to see that big a change in how North Carolinians feels about a particular issue in such a short period of time, but it’s clear the spill has given many voters in the state second thoughts. 50% said it made them less supportive of allowing drilling off the state’s coast, compared to 28% who said it made no difference, and 22% who said the spill actually made them more supportive of drilling here.

PPP notes that the tumble in support for drilling has “come across party lines,” with a 17 point drop among independents, a 16 point drop among Democrats, and an 11 point drop among Republicans. A recent Rasmussen poll found that support for oil drilling nationally has “fallen dramatically” since the spill.

This is a TP repost.

7 Responses to As Tar Balls Wash Up On Gulf Coast, Support For Drilling Plummets In North Carolina

  1. catman306 says:

    Jail all the involved executives. THEY ARE TERRORISTS! No need for trials, RIGHT?

  2. Anonymous says:

    I was shocked to hear this on NPR ATC yesterday. The captain is telling Louisiana fishermen that they “own” part of BP’s oil.

    “Captain ED STANTON (U.S. Coast Guard): It’s name your poison. Look, we’re all guilty in this rummage. If you drive a car, you own part of this spill. I understand the point view of the fishermen, but would you rather have the oil come ashore?”

    By this logic, if you use electricity, you are responsible for coal mine disasters and TMI. Eating spinach makes you responsible of e. coli deaths. And so on.

  3. Mike #22 says:

    (that is my comment at (2) re NPR)

  4. Wit's End says:

    NPR also reported that 70,000 barrels per day, more than 10 times the official estimate, is pouring into the Gulf waters. One Exxon Valdez taker full every four days.

    Here’s some video of what it looks like from the air:

  5. Chris Dudley says:

    Mike (#3),

    I fully agree that the browbeating of worried fishermen by the coast guard captain was uncalled for and factually wrong.

    There are other bad failures of the federal government as well. NJ has had to take over a cleanup of a tritium leak at Oyster Creek because the NRC won’t do squat.

    Many oil wells in the US are operating without required permits:

    And, even after a rush of mine inspections, two miners died in a roof collapse at the end of last month.

    There is a pattern of failure regarding energy in the federal government. Bribery investigations at the MSHA and MMS might be expanded to the NRC to see if corruption is root of this.

  6. What are the odds that the same thing will happen with nuclear power? Congress will say that it is essential to build more nuclear power plants to make the nation energy-independent, as they did with offshore drilling – until there is a catastrophic nuclear accident. Then they will suddenly change their minds.

    The difference is that a major nuclear accident could leave an area as large as the state of Pennsylvania permanently uninhabitable.

  7. GFW says:

    I want to know who the 22% (of NC residents who have increased their support of offshore drilling) are!