Attending the Wilmington Public Square Forum Debate Between Jean-Michel Cousteau and John Hofmeister on Offshore Drilling on October 17th, 2017

On Tuesday, October 17th, the Public Square Forum in Wilmington presented a debate between Jean-Michel Cousteau, environmentalist and son of legendary explorer Jacques Cousteau and John Hofmeister, former president of Shell Oil Company on seismic testing (blasting) and offshore drilling. The Public Square Form is a collaborative effort between Cape Fear Community College, the University of North Carolina - Wilmington, and Cape Fear Realtors. The event was held at the Wilson Center on the campus of Cape Fear Community College and drew an attendance of 950 persons. The North Carolina Coastal Federation helped underwrite the forum.

Cousteau emphasized the dangers to marine life from the process that tests for the presence of oil, the dangers to the ocean and coastal communities from problems like Deepwater Horizon and the Exxon Valdez, and the tremendous benefits to the country in investing resources in renewable, clean energy sources like solar, wind, and ocean currents. Hofmeister acknowledged the danger to marine life, felt that calamitous accidents are now less likely to happen, and endorsed offshore testing and drilling as a way to know how much oil is there and to help America meet its energy needs.

Dr. Kristen Colleran and Dr. Dwight Willis from the Board of Directors attended as did several other BEAT members including Joanne Levitan, Alan Warner, and Becky Willis. Several also took place in a march prior to the event to oppose seismic blasting and offshore drilling.

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