KURE BEACH, NC (WWAY) – It was standing room only at the Kure Beach Town Council Meeting with hundreds more standing outside hanging on every word of the debate.
"I'm very concerned with the preservation of our oceans, its marine life, and our beaches,” said Clarke Slaymaker.
Conservationists and capitalists openly debated the pros and cons of seismic testing which will give oil companies an idea of oil and natural gas deposits off of the coast.
"We're trying to talk about an ability to create jobs and revenue, and we're trying to create an ability to actually understand what resources are out there,” said Albert Eckel.
The healthy debate the council hoped to hear turned into a nasty argument with protestors loudly cheering anyone speaking on their behalf, and booing anyone speaking in support of testing.
A number of Kure Beach residents in attendance say they weren’t as angry about the seismic testing as they were about the council’s ability, or lack thereof, to run the town.
"It was disappointing and unconscionable to me that the letter in support of seismic testing was signed by the mayor of Kure Beach without citizen input,” said an unidentified woman to council.
Protestors held up signs and wore shirts for the conservationists group Oceana which claims the testing could kill as many as 138,500 marine mammals. Oceana members pointed to a mass die off of dolphins in Peru for supporting evidence.
"Dead dolphins did wash up in the beach in Peru,” said an unidentified man. “When they looked at it the seismic surveys started the dolphins were washing up on the beach before the surveys started."
At the end of the night the question still remained, should seismic testing be allowed or are there better options available.
"The method that the oil companies are telling you they want to use is stupid,” said one man in attendance. “There are much better methods by putting sonar sensors on the bottom of the ocean. I'm not against testing, and I'm not even against drilling, but I'm against doing it in a stupid way."