Don't Drill (A Letter) by Michaela Stith

This is in response to “To Drill or not to Drill” (Jan. 30). I am from Anchorage, Alaska, and a student at the Duke Marine Lab in Beaufort. I wake up in the morning with rolling blue waves passing by my window, wild horses prancing across Shackelford, and dolphins chasing after each other by the docks. The air smells clean, the towns nearby are inviting, and the atmosphere is simply calm, beautiful.

I am afraid that North Carolinians who welcome offshore drilling to these coasts do not understand what destruction they will let in. Last summer I visited Kenai, Alaska, to scout for a beach. The nearest was Salamatof Beach, and a sign outside of it read: “This beach property, leased by ConocoPhillips, Inc., has been generously opened for the public’s enjoyment.” From the shore you could see two or three rigs in the distance. They were many miles offshore, but the 400 feet tall ugly metal contraptions stuck out like trash mountains. A skeletal cement bridge curled across the shore and served as a tanker loading dock. The water was dark and ominous, probably because routine operation of offshore oil rigs — disregarding major spills — leaks 15 million gallons of oil into the ocean annually (Ocean Planet, Smithsonian Institution). Your beaches would be reduced to this. Launch stations for offshore drilling operations, polluted and ugly.

State politicians like Governor McCrory are trying to convince President Obama that North Carolinians want their beaches to look like this. But McCrory does not have the final say; the president does. If you want to keep your coast pristine, you have to write to him and tell him you, a citizen of North Carolina, oppose offshore drilling. Luckily, it’s easy as a click of a button: