Second annual Hands Across the Sand happens tomorrow

06/24/11 Kate Bradshaw
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Last year’s Hands Across the Sand event brought thousands to Tampa Bay area beaches to protest offshore oil drilling in the Gulf of Mexico. The second installment of that event takes place tomorrow. We spoke with Darden Rice, Florida Director of the Gulf Restoration Network. She said while there’s no immediate threat of oil hitting our shores like there was last year, it’s still important to come out.

Tomorrow’s Hands Across the Sand event takes place at noon on Tampa Bay area beaches.

"Although last year we saw a phenomenal turnout because the BP oil spill disaster was still taking place, this year it's still important to get people out because it's been more than a year since the BP oil disaster but still Congress has yet to act on implementing any of the oil spill recommendations. And when our legislature starts again in January we know that the attempts to drill in Florida's near shore waters will be taken up again. This is why it's so important why some of these Floridians here locally are participating in this worldwide event. Another important thing to mention, of course, is that off shore oil drilling is just as much an economic issue as it is an environmental issue. For instance, on Saturday Gulf Restoration Network is working with a number of other groups for an event at the Tradewinds where we will be joined by tourism officials and people who have just as much of an economic interest in protecting our coast as a conservation interest."

Can you tell us where people can go? I know that there are different places to meet up for the actual Hands Across the Sand event and there's a press conference as well. Can you kind of give us a layout of the time frame?

"Wherever you live you can go to and look up and find the beach nearest you to attend to be there at noon, factor in time to find parking, bring sunscreen, be sure you drink plenty of water because it's going to be hot. But plan to be on the beach by noon to join hands with other supporters for a clean coast. At Tradewinds, Gulf Restoration Network is leading a press conference at 10:45 a.m. with various elected leaders of the Tampa Bay area to show support for clean coasts."

Finally, obviously there's a major event that conflicts. I think a lot of people who would want to go to Hands Across the Sand would also want to go to St. Pete Pride so say someone is already slated to go to St. Pete Pride, do you have any future events scheduled?

"Actually, I'm planning to go to both events. I'm going to be at Tradewinds for Hands Across the Sand in the morning and I will leave that event and catch the end of St. Pete Pride, but I will tell you that people who have to choose one event or the other and will be at Pride instead we are going to have a follow-up activist meeting on Saturday, July 23rd and you can contact Gulf Restoration Network for more information."

Previous WMNF news coverage of Hands Across The Sand

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