Gov. Northam backs N.C. governor with opposition to offshore drilling

RALEIGH, N.C. (WAVY) — North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper is so opposed to offshore drilling he’s willing to sue the federal government.

The announcement came after a meeting today, where he asked for the state to be exempt from President Donald Trump’s plan to increase oil production off the coast.

Cooper has a dozen governors in coastal states that are backing him up and opposed to the drilling idea. One of them is Virginia Governor Ralph Northam.

Trump recently granted an exemption for the state of Florida. 10 On Your Side spoke with one woman at the local forefront of this battle who says she’s going to help other states get exemptions.

“Virginia is just as special as Florida which has been pulled and just as special as any other,” says Eileen Levandoski with the Sierra Club Chesapeake Bay Group.

The group works to promotes the responsible use of the earth’s resources and Levandoski says it seems every five years they have to battle this same issue.

“We beat it down for very legitimate and real reasons and now we’re back in it again for the third time,” she says.

Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring says drilling poses a risk to the environment, military assets and tourism.

Cooper has asked Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke to stop the plan and seek more input from the public. If not, he plans to take action. “If North Carolina is unsuccessful in getting exempted through this regulatory process, we will sue in federal court, ” he said.

Levondoski says she will take action too and plans to attend the public hearing on the issue in Richmond on Feb. 21.