Tickets were sold out Tuesday for a forum on offshore drilling at the CFCC Wilson Center in downtown Wilmington.
Explorer and environmentalist Jean-Michel Cousteau, son of Jacques-Yves Cousteau, and former Shell CEO John Hofmeister presented different views on offshore drilling off the coast of North Carolina, in the “To Drill or Not to Drill?” event hosted by Cape Fear Realtors, Cape Fear Community College and the University of North Carolina Wilmington.
“This event was a victory for the entire community,” said Steve Hobbs, chair of the Cape Fear Realtors Governmental Affairs Committee, in a news release Thursday. “We had a room packed with people that held differing views on offshore drilling. The event began civilly and ended the same way.”
Announced in August, the forum is part of a larger project initiated by the Cape Fear Realtors called The Public Square, an effort to bring important topics to the forefront in a civil, constructive way.
“With so many issues out there, we can’t formulate good policy without understanding them. The Public Square is set in the middle to educate the public and decisionmakers on both sides of the issue,” said Shane Johnson, CFO of Cape Fear Realtors, in an email.
Johnson said it makes sense for Realtors to organize The Public Square because they “often are the information gateway for people moving to the area. It is critical for our members to be well-versed on important issues. Relating to coastal drilling, a good portion of our members have not made a decision on the issue, which is exactly what The Public Square is meant to address.”
Johnson said the turnout was much larger than the 350 participants that organizers had initially anticipated. The Wilson Center has 1,557 seats, and tickets sold for $10 each.
The Public Square is expected to continue with additional events in the future on other topics of local and national interest.
Editor's note: This story has been updated from the original version to reflect comments from CFR after the event.