Photo Credit: Randy Sturgill/Oceana
The rapidly growing grassroots movement of Atlantic coastal communities faces a powerful alliance: pro-drilling governors and oil industry lobbyists.
By Sue Sturgis /
August 20, 2015
Monthly town council meetings in Kure Beach, North Carolina, an oceanfront community of 2,000 people located 15 miles south of the port city of Wilmington, are usually quiet affairs, drawing a half-dozen or so residents to discuss mundane matters like board appointments and budgets.
But the council’s first meeting last year was anything but quiet or mundane: What happened there on Jan. 27, 2014, is considered the bellwether for the growing grassroots movement against oil and gas drilling in Atlantic Ocean waters.
Some 300 people showed up at the town hall that Monday evening, filling the meeting room and spilling into the parking lot. Angry locals waited as long as two hours to confront Mayor Dean Lambeth, who recently had signed a letter to the federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, endorsing a move to begin seismic testing for oil and gas deposits off the North Carolina coast. The letter had been written by America’s Energy Forum, an arm of the American Petroleum Institute, an oil and gas industry lobby group. Lambeth had signed it, lending his endorsement as the mayor of Kure Beach, without any public debate.