N.C. Legislature appoints professor to offshore energy study committee

Rob Young

Rob Young

Rob Young, director of Western Carolina University’s Program for the Study of Developed Shorelines, has been appointed to serve on the N.C. General Assembly’s Offshore Energy Exploration Study Committee.

Young, professor of geology at WCU, was appointed to the committee by Joe Hackney, speaker of the N.C. House of Representatives.

The 24-member committee is charged with studying the implications of leasing federal waters off North Carolina’s coast to energy companies for oil and natural gas exploration, including effects on the economy, environment, tourism and commercial fishing interests.

The committee is authorized to collect and analyze scientific data; to hold public hearings in the state’s coastal region to solicit feedback from local residents; to solicit testimony and advice from experts inside and outside of North Carolina; and to report findings to the Legislature.

A member of the WCU faculty since 1997, Young is an internationally known expert on coastal management issues and policy. He has been a member of the American Association of Petroleum Geologists for more than 20 years, and serves on the editorial board of the journal Environmental Geosciences.

“I am very happy to represent Western Carolina University and Western North Carolina on this important panel,” Young said. “The issues facing us regarding energy security are complex, and require careful planning for long-term solutions. It is also critical that any exploitation of offshore resources proceed in such a way as to not damage North Carolina’s other economically important coastal resources.”

As director of WCU’s Program for the Study of Developed Shorelines, Young guides a program known worldwide for its use of science to influence public policy affecting management of U.S. shorelines.

Founded at Duke University in 1986, the PSDS conducts research focusing on beach replenishment and other forms of shoreline stabilization, hazard risk mapping on barrier islands, sedimentary processes on shorefaces, and mitigation of hurricane property damage on barrier islands. The program relocated in 2006 to the WCU campus in the mountains of Western North Carolina and is administratively housed in the Graduate School.

For more information on the Program for the Study of Developed Shorelines, call (828) 227-3822.