Rotary Log for meeting of January 8, 2015  by Tristan Shanley


President Tricia welcomed the club to our first meeting of 2015. She announced there would be no general announcements this week to allow for additional time for our guest speaker. The club did unanimously vote to nominate Dave Underhill as a candidate for 2017 Rotary District Governor.Tricia further announced she will be hosting a fundraising committee meeting Friday, January 16th at 8am at The Edgewood Center. The purpose of the meeting will be to review the fundraising focus of 2015.  


Bob Field introduced our guest speaker, Dudley Dudley, a former New Hampshire State Legislator. Dudley spear-headed the Save Our Shores movement of 1974. This was an initiative created to stop Aristotle Onassis from building the world’s largest oil refinery on Durham Point. Onassis had already made himself world famous by marrying the widowed Jackie Kennedy. But his refinery project would have a devastating impact on our environment, not to mention quality of life.



The scheme came in the midst of high inflation, a faltering economy and a severe shortage of gas and oil. The gas shortage created long lines at the pump as consumers could only purchase gas on odd or even dates. The richest man of his day, Onassis claimed his refinery would bring jobs to our state. As Dudley explained, however, few workers in New Hampshire possessed the specific skills a refinery requires. The coveted jobs would be outsourced. That was only one of a series of distortions and half-truths put out by Olympic, Ari’s company, according to Dudley. 


Dudley was a rookie, first term legislator but had friends and a plan.  She created House Bill 18 which stated that proposals like building an oil refinery constitute a state of emergency. As such, the legislature would have to act on it immediately and not wait until it was in session.


The oil refinery would require blasting in Rye and Hampton. A pipe connecting Durham Point to a terminal at the Isles of Shoals would run through much of the Seacoast’s pristine marsh lands. Dudley worked hard to obtain 4,000 signatures to stop it. When taped together, the petitions lined the length of Main Street in Durham. She then presented the papers to Governor Mel Thompson, who supported the refinery. Thompson basically threw her out of his office. 


A Durham town meeting followed. The vote was nine to one in opposition to the refinery.  On the day of legislation in Concord, the billionaire’s proposal was denied due to a zoning issue in the town of Durham.  Dudley made mention of the small publication, Publik Occurrences, which first introduced her to the oil refinery proposal. She also gave nod to Nancy Sandberg and Phyllis Bennett for their contributions to the cause. The three influential women have a bench dedicated to them in Wagon Hill Park for all to admire.




Editor's note: Here is the link to a video about this controversy, if you are interested in learning more:


Log submitted by Tristan Shanley

Club photos by Sara Treacy