North Carolina Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper says he'll keep fighting efforts by President Donald Trump's administration to expand oil and gas exploration off the Atlantic coast, saying such drilling "represents a critical threat" to the state's coastal economy.
Cooper responded Thursday to news of additional opportunities proposed by the federal government for offshore energy development starting in 2019. He said in a release his administration "will pursue every option" to prevent drilling near the state's beaches, fishing waters and coastal communities.
The governor last summer announced opposition to expanded coastal oil and gas exploration. Last month, a state regulatory agency asked companies interested in testing to provide more information that reflects potential marine life problems.
State Republican legislative leaders generally back offshore exploration, as did Cooper's predecessor, Republican Pat McCrory.