Hands Across the Sand 2018 preview

Hands Across the Sand opposition to drilling and fracking

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Hands Across the Sand against oil drilling

Hands Across the Sand on Gandy Beach – Credit: Samuel Johnson / WMNF News.

Every spring, beach lovers across Florida – and in other parts of the world – gather to hold Hands Across the Sand to oppose offshore oil and gas drilling. Jana Wiggins is a volunteer with Sea Shepherd Conservation Society and Rise Above Plastics and is helping to organize what might be the Tampa Bay area’s largest Hands Across the Sand – this Saturday in Clearwater Beach.

“They are held all over teh world on beaches and waterways. And basically what we are doing is we’re joining hands as communities to prevent oil drilling and seismic testing. … As you know, this [Trump] administration is talking opening up offshore drilling and seismic testing. Seismic testing is the process they go through to find the oil they want to drill. Seismic testing kills and strands many, many marine mammals. So we want to prevent that. As well as we know with drilling that it’s not the safest form of energy. So we’re joining hands in telling our Legislature and our [federal] government that we don’t want this happening off of our shores.”

“[Hands Across the Sand] has gone on for many years. Here in Clearwater Beach this is the second event for this. We will have various representatives. Senator Bill Nelson (D-FL) will come and speak and of course our mayor will come because our goal is to protect marine life, our oceans, our beaches, our property values and not have any of these things taking place off of our shores.”

But Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke keeps insisting that there will not be drilling off the coast of Florida.

“Well, actually, the governor said there will not be. But Ryan Zinke actually said that everywhere is open. We have not had any conclusive statement made that there will not be any offshore drilling or seismic testing.”