MADISON (WKOW) -- Even though Madison is 900 miles from the Gulf Coast, people here are still worried about the oil spill and its effect on the country. On Tuesday, a handful of protesters - along with a former BP geologist - speak out on the issue.
"To my mind we have to be more cautious about proceeding with offshore drilling," said Joe Mzarek, who protested at Brittingham Park. "The governor of California recognizes that. I think the president is coming to recognize that."
"The disaster is still unfolding and so we don't know the extent of the damage, and we need to make sure from the very beginning that BP is stepping up and taking care of the mess that it's made," said Jennifer Feyerherm, who organized the protest.
Just a handful of people showed up for the event, which was part of a nationwide outcry against the oil company and off-shore drilling in general. But their voices were still heard as they called for a fundamental shift in American energy policies.
"This is a wake up call and should be taken that way, that we need to move toward cleaner, safer sources of energy," Feyerherm said.
But across town a quieter voice says offshore drilling is still a good option, and one of the few the country has left.
"I feel technically we can overcome this sort of thing," said Meredith Rhodes Carson, a former BP employee. "Oil and gas are in demand."
Rhodes Carson worked for BP in Houston for six years. Her job was to review seismic data and locate oil and gas fields.
She says there's a reason BP is drilling up to six miles deep -- there's simply more oil in that part of the gulf. And despite the current crisis, she says drilling should continue.
"We've been doing it safely for a long time and it's a shame to have this happen but they're working really hard at it and I have nothing but respect for the people behind this."