State agencies meet at UNCW to discuss oil spill effects
July 21, 2010By Alison Lee Satake
On Wednesday, the University of North Carolina hosted representatives from the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources, the state’s Division of Emergency Management and marine researchers from several North Carolina universities to discuss higher education’s role in responding to a major oil spill.
When Dr. Robert Roer, the dean of UNCW’s Graduate School met with state officials following the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, it became apparent that the state agencies were unaware of what types of resources and data the universities could offer. Roer organized today’s meeting to increase understanding and collaboration between the state agencies and the universities.
The U.S. Coast Guard will lead the oil spill mitigation effort if it reaches the Carolina coast, said Corey Johnson, a staff member of the state’s Division of Emergency Management.
The discussion turned to projections of the long-term effects the oil spill will have on education and the marine science industry.
“In five to 10 years, the effects of this oil spill will be in textbooks,” Roer said. A new field of accident mitigation may prop up.
The oil spill was described as a “tipping point” for alternative energy. Officials predicted more funding for alternative energy to come.
“Is [offshore drilling] the best way to address our energy needs for the future?” Roer asked.