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Back You are here: Home Opinion Opinion Section Editorials Editorial: Kure Beach Learns Lesson On Seismic Testing Issue

Editorial: Kure Beach Learns Lesson On Seismic Testing Issue

By WILLARD KILLOUGH III
Managing Editor

The Town of Kure Beach is getting a refresher course on how you can't always ask for forgiveness later. An issue of such magnitude as seismic air gun testing for off shore oil and gas exploration is best left to the big guns (no pun intended). It's a national issue that's been going on for years and sleepy little Kure Beach shouldn't have gotten involved in it to begin with.
Three council members did decide to support testing. Regardless of what individual elected leaders views are on the topic, public opinion should have been solicited on a scale that is worthy of such a massive national debate. And that idea was actually voted upon. According to Town Clerk Nancy Avery, the Council voted on waiting to get more citizen input before allowing the Mayor Dean Lambeth to sign a letter of support for seismic air gun testing (See report on front page). Commissioners Emilie Swearingen and David Heglar voted in favor of that motion while Mayor Lambeth, Mayor Pro Tem Bloszinsky and Commissioner Pagley voted against that motion. She said following the meeting the interpretation was to send the letter.
If sending a letter showing support of the Town of Kure Beach - and most importantly it's residents - was so important to get inked and in the mail to the Federal permitting agency, the residents should have been afforded the opportunity to step up to the podium and address their leaders with favorable or opposing outlooks on the matter. Now the Council will hear from individuals and groups on both sides of the issue. And they'll be faced with a dilemma.  Ignore the public or write another letter saying, "Wait! We were wrong; the majority of our residents don't support seismic air gun testing. We should have asked first."
At the Council's December 17, 2013 meeting Councilman David Heglar said prior to the vote, "This is one that should have went out on our newsletter or something if we think we are going to act on that in the December meeting" and, "I don't know where I am either way actually but I think there's a lot of citizens that would be very unhappy that the Council said they were in favor of this because I think a lot of our citizens would not be."
Heglar said, "I don't think the Council knows enough to sign a letter saying yes we are in favor of this because I don't know that that's where the citizens are."
He said it's not proper to sign a letter expressing an opinion of the "Town" unless they know the majority opinion of the people they were elected to serve. He said, "I think we should ask them."