Local News

Coastal residents have second thoughts on oil exploration

Posted April 28, 2010

— As crews try to control a massive oil slick in the Gulf of Mexico, many people along North Carolina’s coast are having second thoughts about the idea of oil exploration locally.

Wayne Umphlette, who owns Harbor Welding in the tiny Dare County village of Wanchese, would like to see oil drilling locally, especially if it means finding safe harbor in an economic storm.

“I think it means a lot of jobs. I think it means a growth potential for both Dare County and Wanchese,” he said.

Off the coast of Louisiana, an oil rig exploded last week causing 42,000 gallons of oil a day to leak into Gulf of Mexico. Eleven workers are missing and presumed dead. The cause of the explosion has not been determined.

N.C. coastal residents are mixed on oil drilling

On Wednesday, crews were planning to set fire to leaking oil in a last-ditch effort to get rid of it before it reaches environmentally sensitive marshlands on the coast.

The cost of disaster continues to rise and could easily top $1 billion.

Umphlette said explosions like the one off the Louisiana coast are few.

“This was a bad thing, people lost their lives. But in a big scale, we’ve lost a whole lot of people in a whole lot of other ways,” he said.

Outer Banks tourist Ron Tutterow is against the idea of off shore drilling.

Tutterow said the pristine, open beaches are what draws him to the coast every year.

“It’s a beautiful area down here and I’m just so afraid that if they start drilling something will happen,” he said.

Dare County Commissioner Warren Judge agrees.

“I don’t see off shore oil drilling putting a single job in Dare County. I don’t see an economic advantage in Dare County. I see Dare County having all the risk,” he said.


This story is closed for comments.

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  • dib Apr 29, 2010

    withnailharrison you're so funny! Drill here Drill now! No need to fry your fish in oil there's plenty all over now just light it on fire and watch it cook! Imagine how many cooks and restaurants will go out of business if people can walk the beaches and pic their own oil coated fish and cook them right away! Heck I don't care about the beaches. They are all lined by hotels and over priced houses.

  • JustOneGodLessThanU Apr 29, 2010

    beachboater, is your google finger broken? ;-) Learning from mistakes requires knowing what those mistakes are.

    Here are the top 10 oil spills in history...the oldest of which was just in 1978.

    The Valdez spill was only the 34th largest oil spill in history and didn’t make this list.


    (BTW, this was the first link in my google search – there are bigger, more comprehensive lists of oil spills if you care to learn.)

  • withnailharrison Apr 29, 2010

    "The overall, long-lasting damage is minimal. But the benefits are HUGE."

    DeathRow makes a great point here folks. The earth will indeed bounce back if we foul our beaches with oil. It should take a generation or so for the beaches to scrub themselves and for shellfish to become edible again. All we have to do is stop using the beaches and eating shellfish during this time. Duh.

  • Lerxst Apr 29, 2010

    Natural Petroleum Seeps Release Equivalent Of Up To 80 Exxon Valdez Oil Spills


    Now, imagine 8 to 80 times the amount of oil spilled in the Exxon Valdez accident.

    According to new research by scientists from UC Santa Barbara and the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI), that's how much oil has made its way into sediments offshore from petroleum seeps near Coal Oil Point in the Santa Barbara Channel.

  • hp277 Apr 29, 2010

    "Yes accidents happen, and when they do, more jobs."

    Accidents are a great source of business for EMS workers, hosptials, and funeral homes... not to mention Kleenex makers, insurance companies, and attorneys.

    Good grief, you can justify anything in the name of cheap gas.

  • wayneboyd Apr 29, 2010

    On the Gulf spill, I read the report that 11 lives were lost and they reported yesterday that they were giving up looking for bodies.BUT I've never heard any names of the missing, no word from any grieving relatives. Were there any?????? Or did the sabatoge crew vanish on one of those robotic subs and disappear. I 'm just musing here, no facts but when W.Va's coal mine blew up I saw families mourning for the lost lives there, I see none of this in Louisiana. WHY?????

  • unclegrits Apr 29, 2010

    "Yes accidents happen, and when they do, more jobs."

    I can't believe I just read the above. So oil spills are now good for the economy? But hey let's ignore the impact it will have on the fishing industry and tourism if a spill occurs. No jobs at risk in those 2 industries within North Carolina. LOL

  • wayneboyd Apr 29, 2010

    Hey didn't I read somewhere a couple of weeks back where only about three miles out beyond where we are discussing drilling that China is already ahead of us, already doing it.
    We can wait and a couple of years down the road we can start adding more to our debt with China by purchasing her crude oil.

  • wildervb Apr 29, 2010

    The area off the NC coast is one of the windiest areas in the world. We can produce tremendous amounts of wind energy which will translate into clean electricity for NC.

    This will of course produce plenty of jobs.

    If there's an accident we won't have a major toxic spill.

    Yeah, right now we can't run our cars on electricity, but in 10 years we'll probably have that option. If we started drilling off our coast now it'd take ten years to get the oil (if there is any). And as pointed out before, that oil goes on a world market, it won't effect our local prices.

  • zande Apr 29, 2010

    This story took a major turn for the worse with the upgrading of the oil leak estimates. The "drill baby drill" crowd needs to understand that any oil we get off of our coast goes on the world market and is sold to the highest bidder. OPEC still will rule. Solar, wind, geothermal and energy efficiency are the real American solutions.