Protestors gatherd on the beach in Kill Devil Hills in March of 2015 when BOEM announced plans to open the SE Atlantic to oil & gas exploration.

We got a shot of surprising news here on the Outer Banks yesterday and it didn’t anything to do with the elections. Sure the primaries were held on Tuesday in North Carolina and almost everyone was sporting that stylish little “I voted” sticker, but the final results from that contest are still a little over seven months out.

The big news for Outer Banks residents and visitors to the area was the announcement today that the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) was withdrawing the plan to allow development of oil and gas off the Southeast Atlantic coast. 

Citing widespread opposition to the plan—almost every coastal community from Virginia to Georgia passed resolutions opposing the proposal—and Department of Defense concerns that offshore oil and gas activity would disrupt training exercises, Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell pulled the plug on the plan.

Although no oil or gas has been confirmed off the southeastern coast of the US, based on surveys done in the late 1970s, an underwater limestone outcropping 30 miles east of Salvo called the Manteo Block is the most likely spot for development.

With no deepwater ports and no infrastructure to support oil or gas exploration and extraction, many residents on the Outer Banks see the only potential economic impact from drilling as negative if there was a spill.