STATE — Though BP’s offshore rig has been gushing oil and gas into the Gulf of Mexico for over 50 days, federal officials are moving forward with drilling on the east coast by considering seismic exploration.
In response Surfrider, Sierra Club and Clean Ocean Action are organizing New Jersey residents to participate in a national event called Hands Across the Sand. The event will oppose offshore oil drilling and the threat it poses to New Jersey’s coastal economy and marine environment.
Hands Across the Sand will take place on Saturday, June 26, at beaches around the state and country. The event will be a public gathering on the beaches to draw metaphorical and actual lines in the sand against oil drilling. At 11 a.m. people will gather on the beach and at noon they will join hands for 15 minutes. The organizations are planning three major events in Asbury Park, Seaside Heights, and Atlantic City.
Alaska Wilderness League, Environment New Jersey, and New Jersey Environmental Federation are also helping with these events. Additional beaches are being organized around the state by local residents and organizations.
“We are all frustrated and angry with what is happening in the gulf and may feel powerless, but together we will stand up for the environment and join hands to show our unity against offshore drilling and create a barrier to say that our beaches and our oceans should be protected,” said Jeff Tittel, director of the New Jersey Sierra Club.
All three organizations have long advocated for halting offshore drilling and reducing reliance on fossil fuels, while simultaneously developing cleaner and safer solutions.
“Offshore oil drilling is not the answer to our energy needs. Surfrider Foundation has maintained a website at www.nottheanswer.org for two years that details our opposition and why. Conservation, efficiency and renewables are the answer,” said John Weber, northeast regional manager for the Surfrider Foundation.
“As we watch in rapt horror at the suffering living-dead marine life coated in molasses-like toxic oil, we must be moved to act, now. To start, we can stand together, join hands in solidarity to support our community in the Gulf of Mexico. Then vow to wage a personal “war against oil,” oppose off shore drilling, and put conservation and efficiency first,” said Cindy Zipf, executive director of Clean Ocean Action.
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