Cedar Point commissioners Tuesday night voted 3-1 to adopt a resolution that opposes seismic testing for oil and gas and subsequent drilling off the N.C. coast, the Tideland News reported.
The board had informally discussed the resolution last year during a work session, but there hadn’t been enough support to put it on the agenda for a regular meeting. Commissioner David Winberry made the motion to adopt the resolution, less than a week after the panel agreed during a Jan. 21 work session to put it on the agenda.
Winberry said he formally supported offshore drilling but later changed his mind.
“I thought at one time we had a shortage of oil. Now the world is glutted with oil. Seismic testing … I don’t know what it would do to marine life; I’m not a scientist. But I do know that if we have oil wells off North Carolina … well, 99 times out of 100 nothing’s going to happen. But if we did have a spill … you see what it did in the Gulf of Mexico, and you know what it would do to Carteret County and eastern North Carolina.
Commissioner Sam Meadows cast the dissenting vote, saying he was concerned about national security, which he said depends partly on energy independence.
“I probably burn more fuel than anyone in this room,” said Meadows, who is a commercial fisherman. “I don’t want to see that (money go) to a foreign country. I’m just not for this (resolution).”
Nearby Emerald Isle and Swansboro have adopted resolutions against seismic testing and drilling, as have Beaufort, Morehead City and Atlantic Beach. The Carteret County Board of Commissioners supports seismic testing and drilling. Up and down the coast, more than 100 communities have formally opposed offshore exploration and drilling, according to the environmental group Oceana.
Cedar Point’s resolution notes the concerns marine scientists have shared about the potential effects of seismic testing on marine mammals. It also stresses the potential impact of a spill on an economy based largely on tourism and commercial and recreational fishing, and states, “Carteret County endeavors to be a good steward of our coastal environment and natural resources.”