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Sign made for Brunswick County Commissioner Pat Sykes at rally against offshore drilling (Photo: Hannah Patrick/WWAY)

BRUNSWICK COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — Dozens rallied in Sunset Beach today against offshore drilling, seismic testing, and GenX.

Brunswick County is one of only two counties in the state that has passed resolutions supporting offshore drilling.

Representative Deb Butler was one of several guest speakers who addressed a very large crowd at Sunday Beach Town Park this morning about offshore drilling.

“When big oil threatens to blast the floor of our ocean,” Butler said. “We are going to stand again together and say no.”

Butler also addressed GenX concerns.

“As DuPont and Chemours are filling the Cape Fear River with GenX, what do we say? No,” Butler said.

Franklin Oldham said he drove to the rally from Wilmington to make sure his voice was heard.

“The GenX scare, seismic blasting, offshore drilling, these are things that affect everybody,” Oldham said.

Sunset Beach Councilman Rich Cerrato said offshore drilling is an economic risk.

“One spill in any Brunswick County pristine beach will destroy this county and economy,” Cerrato said. “People will not visit. We will lose revenues. I do not understand why our county commissioners in Brunswick County do not understand this business logic.”

Cerrato told the crowd Brunswick County is one of only two counties that has previously passed resolutions supporting offshore drilling.

“This is embarrassing,” Cerrato said.

Dwight Willis shared that frustration by reading a statement to the crowd from Brunswick County Commissioner Pat Sykes in a StarNews article over the weekend.

“It might not even happen here,” Sykes said in an article in the StarNews. “I just don’t see causing a stir when there’s nothing there. I just am not one to get involved unless I need to. It’s not an issue for the county at this point.”

Willis then encouraged the crowd to e-mail Sykes with this message.

“Stir it Pat!” Willis said.

Cerrato hopes the county commissioners can come together with a new resolution.

“Don’t kick the can down the road,” Cerrato said. “Pass a resolution and vote against offshore drilling.”

Butler said it needs to happen before it gets to the state.

“I’m sure it’s going to work it’s way to the state house,” Butler said. “I’m not optimistic when it gets there. That’s why I think we need to combat it on the local level.”

We reached out to Commissioner Sykes for a response. We are still waiting to hear back.

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