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Governor Cooper talks offshore drilling with Trump official

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper says he had a good conversation with a top Trump administration official over plans to expand offshore drilling.

Cooper said he talked to Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke about concerns that drilling could cause catastrophic damage to the state's $3 billion tourism and fishing industries.

The Democratic governor says residents of North Carolina need to make their opposition clear to the federal government.

Trace Cooper, The Mayor of Atlantic Beach was also in the meeting. He shared his thoughts in an email to NewsChannel 12.

"Secretary Zinke is an impressive guy—there aren’t many cabinet secretaries, or anyone else for that matter, who have earned the right to wear a Navy SEAL trident lapel pin," said Mayor Cooper." We invited him to come back and visit the coast of NC and he said that he would and promised that when he did he wouldn’t be coming ashore in a zodiac boat with his SEAL team. He was frank and open in his comments and assured us on multiple occasions that both he and President Trump wanted to hear what the local communities had to say. There doesn’t seem to be any preordained plan to drill anywhere at any cost. They are actively seeking input from citizens, local governments and state governments."

The plan has bipartisan opposition: Republican South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster met with Zinke on Friday and shared similar concerns.

In January, Zinke announced plans to vastly expand offshore oil drilling from the Atlantic to the Arctic and Pacific oceans. The plan would open 90 percent of the nation's offshore reserves to development by private companies.

(Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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