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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — These days people are always looking for ways to become more energy efficient and when it comes to going green in North Carolina people are not hesitating to voice their opinions on how to do just that.

Governor Bev Perdue’s Scientific Advisory Panel on Offshore Energy held it’s public outreach meeting in downtown Wilmington Wednesday night. Locals came out to advise the panel on how they’d like Gov. Perdue to shape the future of North Carolina.

Offshore drilling continues to be one of the most controversial issues in the state because it’s a topic with passionate views on both sides.

Perdue gave the panel no easy task back in September 2009. The Scientific Advisory Panel on Offshore Energy was created to evaluate the best offshore energy options for the state. When it comes to considering offshore drilling locals say there’s got be a better solution.

“I don’t care how many jobs it will provide,” said Julio Vazquez, who is a local surfer. “Considering what happened in the Gulf like I think me and the other surfers agree we love what we do here and we love having people come down here during the summer to support our economy here so I think offshore drilling will only make the rich richer and make us all suffer.”

Surfers and fishermen in the Cape Fear region say if they don’t protect the shores of eastern N.C., then no one will.

“We gotta make some money some type of way but the whole idea when that spill came it just messed up a lot of different things,” said fisherman Les Weakly. “Unless they put something in place to make sure it don’t happen again then it’d be alright but right now until they do something better I’m against it.”

Wednesday night gave locals the chance to voice the pro’s and con’s of the drilling. They also suggested other options like using natural gas and wind.

“One of the reasons the Wright brothers came to North Carolina was because of the tremendous winds we have off our coast and for years its been a source of pride for us,” said Molly Diggins, who is the Sierra Club’s State Director. “North Carolina has always been first in flight and with this wind resource we have we could be first in wind.”

The panel says it will create a strategy after it meets with residents of Morehead City and Manteo in the upcoming weeks. Members hope to submit their suggestions to Perdue by the end of summer.


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