Memos & Research

Ahead of tonight’s NC Senate debate — Tillis’ environmental record

Sep 22, 2020

Contact: Nick Abraham,, 206-833-7021

Ahead of tonight’s second North Carolina U.S. Senate debate voters should know Senator Tillis’ record on offshore drilling. Despite his recent flip-flop to suddenly support a moratorium, he has long supported offshore oil drilling, putting big oil profits ahead of protecting North Carolina coastal communities.

  • Advocated for offshore drilling on day 1
    • In his very first speech on the floor of the U.S. Senate — a speech most Senators use to introduce their top priorities for their first term in office.
    • Tillis called for offshore drilling in North Carolina. Despite bipartisan opposition, Tillis even introduced an amendment to do so.
    • As recently as March of last year, Senator Tillis said he and President Trump were “in the same place” on drilling — which Trump supported.
  • Fighting for big oil during the pandemic
    • In the middle of the coronavirus pandemic, Tillis used his office not to advocate for relief for local residents but to write a letter to the Trump administration to ensure there was no anti “oil and gas bias” in the economic relief funding.
  • Forcing residents to pay for Duke Energy’s toxic coal ash ponds
    • As Speaker of the North Carolina House, Thom Tillis refused to make Duke Energy pay to clean up the 40,000 tons of toxic coal ash it spilled into the Dan River, potentially passing the cleanup costs on to North Carolinians.
  • Named one of the worst environmental candidates in the country
  • Lifetime environmental score of 9%
  • Denies climate science
  • Bankrolled by big oil

It’s clear that Senator Tillis’ allegiance is to corporate polluters not local residents. North Carolinians have been hit incredibly hard by both the pandemic and the impacts of climate change. But when North Carolina voters needed Sen. Tillis most, he used his position to fight for his corporate donors. North Carolinians cannot trust Senator Tillis to keep his word and his last second flip-flop won’t erase a career of anti-environment attacks.

# # #

Paid for by LCV Victory Fund,, and not authorized by any candidate or candidate’s committee.