The meeting was called to order at 10:00 a.m. by Dr. Richard Hilderman.
Neil Gilbert advised that Brunswick Community College has offered a meeting room for evening meetings. New members introduced themselves followed by previous attendees restating their names and where they live in the county.
Neil Gilbert advised that Kristen Colleran of Hands Across the Sands provided signs for distribution to our membership that are against drilling off the coast of North Carolina. Members are welcomed to take and place the signs on their properties. Randy Sturgill, Senior Campaign Organizer for Oceana, indicated that his organization has additional signage that they are happy to distribute to our group. He noted that plastic ones may not be used on ocean or waterside properties.
INTERIM BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Biographies of eight volunteers to serve as interim board members were previously distributed to the membership. Dr. Hilderman provided an overview of the purpose of the interim board. The board will develop an infrastructure, set up by-laws in accordance with a 501 status, further define the mission and vision statements, and serve with the expectation that a permanent board will be an elected body.
Tom Dufner sought further clarification on the mission statement, the 501 (C) (3) status, and whether the preceding BEAT organization already had a designated number of board members, as well as, a means of removing board members. A question was also raised as to whether it is desirous to have membership and board participation extended to include non-residents of Brunswick County. Veronica Carter of Coastal Federation suggested that the interim board establish a time frame and set priorities for our goals. A discussion ensued with respect to the benefits of having an advisory group that includes people outside the organization, such as Brunswick Community College, UNCW, and the Cape Fear River Group that can be drawn on for expertise and experience. Dr. Richard Hilderman suggested that the membership should initially be comprised of residents of Brunswick County with the understanding that as the organization evolves it may include others outside the county.
Tom Dufner moved and Teddy Altreuter seconded to select all eight people to the Interim Board for a term of office not to exceed one year.
The motion was carried unanimously.
The Mission Statement proposed was as follows:
As an environmental resource, we seek to educate, elevate awareness, and help advocate. BEAT believes stewardship of our environment is everyone’s responsibility.
Tom Dufner questioned the focus of the mission statement. Veronica Carter suggested the sequence of the sentences be reordered so that, ’BEAT believe the stewardship of our environment is everyone’s responsibility’ should be the first sentence and follow it up with ‘As an environmental resource we seek educate, elevate awareness and help advocate.’ A discussion also followed with respect to whether the word advocate or empower would be more in line with legal requirements. Gerald Donaldson raised concern about liability exposure and the need to consider it in determining whether the organization should be designated a 501 (C) (3) or a 501 (C) (4) organization. Veronica Carter offered that Coastal Federal has hired lobbyist and also had members who were lobbyist. She noted that we have a right to our position as a group, however, she cautioned that we not align ourselves with one party or the other. For example, if you invite someone from one party then you should also invite someone from the other party. This should serve to avoid liability concerns. Jan Harris, of the original BEAT organization advised that the former BEAT organization was a plaintiff in a lawsuit. She cautioned that to be allowed into a lawsuit the organization would have to have some kind of standing. If an organization is incorporated as a C3 there is a limited portion of the budget that can be designated for lobbying, whereas a C4 designation has no limit on lobbying. Randy Sturgill also noted that if there is a bill, there needs to be a clear line delineated. He noted that when you urge others to contact your representative then that may be construed to cross that line. The merits of each were further discussed and it was agreed that the main goal would be to educate citizens and elected official rather than lobby.
It was agreed that the interim group would further develop the mission and vision statements. The draft proposals will be disseminated to the group for further comment. Members who would like to offer further ideas for consideration are encouraged to communicate with Dr. Hilderman.
BEAT AND OCEANA OFF-SHORE DRILLING PRESS CONFERENCE/PEP RALLY
The joint media event is in the planning stages. Neil Gilbert noted that they would like to extend an invitation to Dr. Kyle Horton, as well as, others. He further discussed the merits of holding the event on a Saturday or a week day. Holding the event on a Saturday provides an opportunity for active participation by those who work. However, the media has a skeleton crew on the weekend so it may not receive the media attention that we’d like to receive. It was also noted that OCEANA has a film that would educate and enlighten the public on the repercussions of off-shore drilling. This film could be viewed at the Planetarium in Sunset Beach following the meeting.
The time and place of meetings was discussed. Holding the meetings at varied times and places would accommodate additional participation by those who work or don’t live in close proximity to Sunset Beach area. Dr. Hilderman suggested that a sub-committee be formed to poll the membership for best day, time and location of meetings to ensure a broad participation of the members. Veronica Carter noted that population density for Brunswick County is in the northern part of the county - Leland. Neil Gilbert pointed out that the first two meetings were held in the morning. He voiced strong support to hold the third meeting in the evening.
Following further discussion, Dr. Richard Hilderman moved and Joyce Houle seconded that the next meeting be held at Brunswick Community College, Bolivia Campus on June 28, 2017, at 6:30 p.m. provided that a room can be reserved.
The motion was unanimously carried.
2) Randy Sturgill advised that the National Fisheries Institute has started to move forward in authorizing seismic testing on an exploratory basis. This is a first step in authorizing off-shore drilling. He emphasized the need to take action soon as the public comment period will approach quickly.
3) Dr. Hilderman indicated that today’s Brunswick Beacon has an editorial on BEAT.
4) Veronica Carter noted that on September 30, 2017 there is a fair for non-profits which provides a fundraising opportunity for us. The cost is free and is hosted by the Leland Arts and Craft Center for the purpose of raising consciousness. She also stated that we could join the Northern Brunswick Community that coordinates events for $15. They meet once every quarter.
The meeting adjourned at 12:00 p.m.
Acting Recording Secretary
BRUNSWICK ENVIRONMENTAL ACTION TEAM (BEAT)
MINUTES OF THE MEMBERSHIP MEETING
(Held at Brunswick Electric Corporation Building,
795 Ocean Highway West, Supply, NC)
May 24, 2017