On this Earth Day 2016, let us celebrate the fact that the federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) has left out the mid-Atlantic region from its final draft proposal for new offshore oil leasing. This was due in no small part to the grassroots activism by coastal communities from Delaware to Florida where town and county councils passed 110 Resolutions against offshore oil drilling and many businesses signed letters to President Obama and their Governors asking that the Mid-Atlantic be removed from this five-year plan.
One effort to educate and advocate about the impact of offshore oil drilling and seismic blasting on coastal communities and the marine ecosystems is a movie called Shore Stories produced by Working Films in Wilmington, NC, which will be shown in dozens of venues across the state this spring. Penny Hooper, Leadership Council Chair of NC Interfaith Power & Light, helped coordinate the event held Tuesday night, April 19, at Carteret Community College in Morehead City. Following the showing of the film, more than 100 people in the audience found out how to stay engaged around seismic blasting and offshore oil drilling as it continues to be practiced in other parts of the country and the world. These events demonstrate through the movie and the panel discussions, why we must continue to press for a permanent ban on coastal drilling and stop the seismic testing until further study determines its effects on fish and marine mammals, like the endangered Right Whale population.
The local sponsors of the event in Morehead City, were a non-partisan “Concerned Citizens” group made up of a consortium of business leaders, local politicians, environmental groups, and faith groups. Our motto about offshore oil and seismic testing continues to be “All of the risks and none of the rewards”. On Saturday, May 21, at 11:30 AM the groups will rally again against dirty fuels and in favor of clean energy at the Hands Across the Sand event at Fort Macon on Atlantic beach and Emerald Isle. See www.handsacrossthesand.org for more details. It is clear in our great state of North Carolina, that we must continue to push our position of supporting clean, renewable energy like wind and solar.
Shore Stories is a project of Working Films, created in collaboration with Environment NC, Surfrider Foundation, Oceana, and Blue Frontier.
Local Hosts include: Concerned Citizens of Carteret County, Oceana, Environment NC, NC Sierra Club, NC Interfaith Power and Light, Carteret County Crossroads, and Crystal Coast Waterkeeper.