Sometimes there is no choice but to say something about the 800 pound gorilla in the room and here on the Outer Banks at this point in time it’s got to be the possibility that the federal government will sell lease rights for oil and gas drilling along the continental shelf.

There is nothing imminent. The time table published by Washington put the possible sale off until 2021, although worries about how the search for oil and gas is conducted has a number of people concerned.

Local opposition seems to be very well organized led by an offshoot of the Surfrider Foundation, Not the Answer NC. Certainly their efforts were instrumental in bringing over 650 participants to a recent Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) scoping meeting in Kill Devil Hills. The Outer Banks turnout was the largest, by a considerable margin, participation BOEM has ever had at one of their meetings. BOEM is the permitting agency for all offshore energy development.

Because opposition to offshore oil and gas drilling is so well organized it’s difficult to say if Not the Answer NC represents a vocal and focussed minority or a majority of opinion of Outer Banks residents.