WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) -- More than 60 emergency managers, mayors and local officials met with representatives from Raleigh and Washington today to review their course of action if any oil were to come up the coast, even though the chances of that happening are slim. The growing oil slick remains 1,400 miles away in the Gulf of Mexico, but emergency managers at the state and local level are preparing for the worst.
"We will have problems if we have a major problem coming this way, and it could be a spill off our coastline whether shipping or whatever takes place, and that's what our plan was originally written for," said Doug Hoell, NC Division of Emergency Management Director.
Rep. Mike McIntyre, (D) 7th District, hosted this summit to put local leaders in touch with the Coast Guard, the EPA and other agencies that would deal with a clean up here at home. But the chance is less than one percent that our beaches will see any oil from the Gulf spill. The reason is most of the oil in the Gulf has not been caught up in the loop current. Instead, its been blocked by an eddy, which is a rotating current, that will prevent the oil from getting into the gulf stream as long as it's in place.
But the spill has been a wake-up call that has reignited a debate on offshore drilling throughout the state.
"I think there's no doubt that there will be no drilling off the North Carolina coast as long as there's any concern that remains with regard to what's happened in the Gulf," McIntyre said. "We've got to absolutely make sure we know how this accident happened, what precautions can be taken to make sure we don't have that kind of accident anywhere, especially off our coast."
As long as the oil stays away, leaders want to make sure that people know North Carolina is open for business...
"North Carolina has not been affected by this oil spill, and North Carolina is very unlikely to be affected by this oil spill," Hoell said. "You know, our beaches are good for tourists and our seafood is good for consumers."
Today, the Obama administration issued a revised moratorium on offshore drilling in the Gulf of Mexico. It would place a hold on building any new oil derricks in the Gulf and suspend drilling on 33 exploratory wells. The White House says it wants to make sure offshore drilling is safe.