Hundreds show up in opposition to seismic testing in Kure Beach

The crowd spilled outside of the meeting room Monday night.
The crowd spilled outside of the meeting room Monday night.

KURE BEACH, NC (WECT) – After hours of public comments about seismic testing in the Atlantic Ocean, town leaders in Kure Beach let a crowd of hundreds of people know that they do not have an official stance on the issue.

The large show of opposition against the issue was prompted by an earlier letter of support for seismic testing signed by Kure Beach Mayor Dean Lambeth. The letter, as Town Commissioner David Heglar explained to the crowd, was not on official letterhead and simply the opinion of an individual citizen.

Heglar said he was glad to see so much interest in local government, but the outcry against the issue was exactly why he told his fellow commissioners last month that the town should not take a stance on a federal issue.

"Just like abortion or voting rights," Heglar told a crowded council room.

Some in the crowd said they would prefer town leaders to take a stance on the issue, specifically one of opposition. Judy Larrick, a resident of the town for 18 years, said last year's elections might have been more contentious if the opinions on seismic testing were known.

"We need to know who we're electing and what their opinions, values and policies stand for," she said.

Larrick said she will remember this debate when she votes in the next municipal election.

Brady Brashaw, with Echo Friendly Action, said Monday night that he would like to see leaders in Kure Beach adopt a resolution similar to one passed in Wrightsville Beach that opposes any off-shore testing and drilling.

"I would love to see that happen in Kure Beach," said Bradshaw. "I think the citizen support is here, but I don't believe the support is there on the town council."

Copyright 2014 WECT. All rights reserved.