Editorial: Long Awaited Resolution Opposing Seismic Testing

By / Editorials / Wednesday, 20 January 2016 05:00

By WILLARD KILLOUGH III
Managing Editor

Kure Beach has come full circle on the issue of opposing seismic testing and offshore drilling for oil and gas.
Or has it?
The Town Council adopted a resolution opposing seismic testing and offshore drilling at their January 19th, meeting and that unanimous vote was met with applause from a large standing-room-only audience.
Until January 19th, the Town was known for Mayor  Dean Lambeth signing a letter written by the industry and sent to the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) in Washington D.C. supporting seismic testing. That letter was sent in December 2013.
The now former Mayor Lambeth signed a letter written by America's Energy Forum - a group sponsored by the American Petroleum Institute - that describes its mission as, "a non-partisan community of concerned citizens committed to two goals – achieving energy security for our country, and holding our elected officials more accountable in shaping energy policies."
The letter was addressed to Tommy Beaudreau of the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) in Washington D.C.
That resulted in unprecedented levels of public outcry opposing that position.
When members of the community heard about the letter, they were outraged that Lambeth had acted in their name without first asking for their input.
A crowd of approximately 300 people rallied at Kure Beach Town Hall on January 27th, 2014 meeting to voice their opposition to Lambeth signing the letter.
The Council did not vote to oppose seismic testing and a second vote was held April 15th 2014, with Mayor Dean Lambeth and Council members Craig Bloszinsky and Steve Pagley voting against a motion by then Council member Emilie Swearingen to adopt a resolution opposing seismic testing. Swearingen and Councilman David Heglar voted in favor of the resolution.
Swearingen ran against Lambeth for the Mayor's seat in November 2015 and won. That set the stage for the vote passing the resolution of opposition Tuesday night. Has Kure Beach come full circle? Nope. The citizens that Lambeth didn't bother to seek input from were largely against it the entire time.
When Swearingen ran against Lambeth for the Mayor's seat and won, that was not only a vote by many to support someone that opposes offshore drilling and seismic testing, but more importantly, someone who would listen to voters opinions first before representing the community on such a controversial issue. The important question now is, will officials in Washington listen to the 100 communities that oppose drilling in the Atlantic? Write your congressman.

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