ONLINE UPDATE: Kure Beach officials reject seismic testing resolution

by Kelly Corbett
Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Kure Beach Town Council voted 3-2 to reject a resolution opposing seismic airgun testing, arguing the topic is a federal issue.

Mayor Dean Lambeth, Mayor Pro Tem Craig Bloszinsky and Commissioner Steve Pagley made up the three majority votes.

Pagley’s vote was called into question earlier during the Tuesday, April 15 Kure Beach Town Council meeting, by one of two speakers in favor of the resolution.

Brady Bradshaw, founder of Echo Friendly Action, requested Pagley to abstain from the vote.

“Commissioner Pagley, we realize this vote tonight puts you in a very difficult position, because you’re a salesman with Consolidated Pipe and Supply, which supplies materials to the oil and gas industry,” Bradshaw said. “This is obviously a conflict of interest.”

Following the vote, Commissioner David Heglar, who voted in favor of the resolution, said a commissioner selling parts to an industry is not the same as a commissioner working for an industry. He added that Pagley’s business is in water, not oil.

“[Commissioners] can’t pull out of votes just because people make it unpopular for them,” Heglar said.

Town attorney A.A. Canoutas also said he did not see a conflict.

Commissioner Emilie Swearingen disagreed, listing two past examples.

“You abstain … because you have vested interest, it didn’t even have to be a direct, financial interest,” Swearingen said.

Seismic airgun testing uses powerful air blasts to survey for oil and gas deposits below the ocean floor.

The U.S. Department of the Interior estimates the blasts could injure and possibly kill up to 138,500 marine mammals.

The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management will make a final decision about seismic testing in the mid and south Atlantic Ocean after May 7, the end of the public comment period.

Full story will be printed Thursday, April 17.


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