GRN Draws A Line In The Sand

The stand against coastal and offshore drilling continued on June 25th along beaches and at community events worldwide. Thousands of cities around the world participated in last Saturday’s “Hands Across the Sand” program, including many along the Gulf coast. Participants included local residents, tourists, elected officials and business owners, many hurt by the devastation of the Gulf Oil Disaster in 2010. Volunteers worked to sign people in, talk about drilling and clean energy issues, and gather petition signatures.In Florida, along Tampa Bay area beaches, over 1300 supporters lined up to join hands to say NO to DRILLING, and call for CLEAN ENERGY NOW. The Treasure Island group, led by Surfrider Foundation, partnered with “Surfers for Autism” to create a line over 500 strong. On St. Pete Beach, the Tradewinds event garnered 400 supporters. Debra Davies from the Tradewinds Island Resort organized the beach, joined by a coalition of volunteers including Gulf Restoration Network, local Sierra Club chapters, Defenders of Wildlife and Save Our Seas, Beaches and Shores. Spearheading the press conference and local media outreach prior to and after the event was an organizing coalition led by Cathy Harrelson of Gulf Restoration Network. The press conference held before the Hands event at the Tradewinds included former Governor Charlie Crist, State Representative Rick Kriseman, and representatives from U.S. Representatives C.W. Bill Young and Kathy Castor, along with city and county elected officials and environmental groups. Check out this article to see footage from the events in Florida. Pictured above is Governor Crist holding hands with Cathy Harrelson and his wife, Carole.At the Biloxi, Mississippi event, participants were asked to join hands at noon to take a symbolic stand to make sure Congress takes action to restore the coast in the wake of the disaster and to make sure we don’t see another like it here in the Gulf. Check out this article to see an interview with GRN’s Mississippi Organizer who helped coordinate the event. In it, Raleigh calls for the creation of a Regional Citizen’s Advisory Council stating, “the idea of the Regional Citizens Advisory Council is it gives affected communities a voice in future oil and gas industry decisions and makes sure they can keep an eye on oil spill response plans so that they are not there protecting the nonexistent gulf walrus,” he said.In New Orleans, people gathered in solidarity along the Mississippi River behind the Audubon Zoo. The occasion featured music from GRN supporters Sassafrass and speakers from GRN, Sierra Club, Louisiana Bucket Brigade, Joule Energy Co., and BikeEasy. Check out this video from local ABC affiliate WGNO featuring an interview with GRN’s Coastal Resiliency Organizer, Jonathan Henderson, for a look at the New Orleans event.To stoke the spirit and passion of Hands Across the Sand, Gulf Restoration Network will continue to work with participants including an upcoming Activist Training on July 23rd in the Tampa area. For more information please contact GRN’s Florida Director, Darden Rice at You can also stay involved by taking action NOW at BP drilling Henderson is the Coastal Resiliency Organizer for GRN.

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