“Shore Stories” film series comes to Wrightsville Beach tonight

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"Shore Stories" - a series of six films on the fight against offshore oil and gas drilling in North Carolina. Courtesy photo.
“Shore Stories” is a series of six films on the fight against offshore oil and gas drilling in North Carolina. Courtesy photo.

A series of six films focusing on the efforts of North Carolina-based environmental groups to keep the federal government from leasing land off the Atlantic Coast for oil and gas drilling will be screened in Wrightsville Beach Tuesday evening.

The shorts, made by Wilmington-based national non-profit Working Films, focus on the organizations fighting against offshore drilling and seismic testing as well as the stories of past ventures into oil and gas exploration. They were initially put together to help encourage the public to send in their comments to the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, the federal agency in charge of the proposal. However, it was announced last month that the federal government had reversed their position and taken the Atlantic Coast off the lease proposal.

Though the federal government chose not to pursue drilling off North Carolina’s coast at this time (proposals are put together every few years), they did leave seismic testing on the table. Seismic testing is a method of surveying used to find natural gas reserves. Opponents of the practice (which is also less controversially used to try and predict earthquakes) say it is harmful to the environment, particularly marine life.

“While the administration made the right call on the leasing program, it left the job half done by not canceling the permitting process for seismic testing,” said North Carolina Coastal Federation Coastal Advocate Mike Giles in a news release. “Communities all up and down the eastern seaboard as well as some of the most respected experts in the world oppose seismic testing due to the destructive impacts to marine mammals and fisheries. The ‘Shore Stories’ screenings are opportunities to celebrate the victory against the leasing program and can serve as a call to arms against seismic testing.”

In addition to Wrightsville Beach, the series is being shown in six other North Carolina cities. Screenings started in Durham on March 30 and have already played in Raleigh and Nags Head. A screening event will also take place in Greensboro Tuesday, followed by one in Morehead City on the 19th and finally Charlotte on April 28.

“The ‘Shore Stories’ screenings will provide an opportunity for coastal residents to learn about offshore drilling in a unique and interesting way,” said Working Films’ Co-director Amy Lee in the release. “Seeing beautifully made, personal stories about the impact of oil and gas drilling on other communities will help North Carolina residents imagine the potential impacts.”

The in-state events are part of a larger series being held in Virginia, South Carolina and Georgia, the other Atlantic Coast states whose offshore areas were also on the initial lease proposal.

The Wrightsville Beach screenings will be held at the Blockade Runner Resort, located at 275 Waynick Blvd. Drinks and appetizers start at 5:30 p.m., and the films will being at 6:30 p.m. The event is co-hosted by environmental groups Ocean, the North Carolina Coastal Federation and the Cape Fear Chapter of the Surfrider Foundation. Other partner organizations for “Shore Stories” include the Environment North Carolina, the Sierra Club North Carolina Chapter and Blue Frontier as well as smaller grassroots groups.

For more information about the showing in Wrightsville Beach, visit their Facebook event page.