Officials from North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia are meeting privately with federal regulators and groups funded by oil and gas companies to discuss plans for drilling off the Atlantic coast.
Environmentalists sought to be allowed inside Thursday's Mid-Atlantic Outer Continental Shelf Oil and Gas Five-Year Program meeting at the North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources in Raleigh. State Energy Policy Advisor Donald van der Vaart said the event was invitation-only at the request of federal officials because the "inclusion of special interest groups and industry" could present a conflict of interest.
However, the meeting's agenda includes at least three speakers from private groups funded by ExxonMobil, BP, Halliburton, Koch Industries and others.
Only closing remarks by North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory will be opened to the media.