Drilling opponents getting ready for Hands Across The Sand

Dozens gather at Bogue Inlet Pier in Emerald Isle to stand in solidarity against offshore drilling during a past Hands Across the Sand. [Sue Stone photo]

Hands Across the Sand events in North Carolina will be held at Emerald Isle, Oak Island, Sunset Beach, Ocracoke, Kure Beach, Wrightsville Beach, Nags Head, Ocean Isle Beach and Fort Macon State Park in Atlantic Beach, all at noon Saturday.

A global event, Hands Across the Sand is “an opportunity to join hands and draw a line in the sand against expanding offshore oil drilling, hydraulic fracturing, tar sands mining, mountaintop clearing and championing clean energy for a sustainable planet,” according to the website.

Hands Across the Sand events will also be held in most states, as well as Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Belize.

“This year’s Hands is most likely the most important event in its history. Specifically here in the Atlantic and especially off the North Carolina coast. We have never been this close to seismic blasting and offshore oil and gas drilling,” Vicki Sturgill, Hands Across the Sand state organizer for North Carolina, told Coastal Review Online.

“In times past, there has always been good turnout. Seems to be more interest as the day approaches, as off the North Carolina coast is ground zero to drill in the Atlantic,” she said.

Hands Across the Sand Founder Dave Rauschkolb said in a statement that he founded Hands Across the Sand in October 2009 in response to a bill passed in the Florida House of Representatives that would lift a ban on nearshore drilling.

“With the support of sponsor organizations, we rallied more than 10,000 Floridians to join hands on Feb. 13, 2010, to show a united opposition to nearshore drilling. The event covered the state’s coastlines, from the Atlantic to the Gulf. As a result of these efforts, the bill was tabled the next month,” he said. “Two months later the BP Deepwater Horizon exploded in the Gulf of Mexico. We then organized a global Hands Across the Sand to urge President Barack Obama to abandon his bid to open the continental United States waters to offshore oil drilling.”

Rauschkolb added that Hands Across the Sand is “held annually to bring awareness about the dangers inherent in securing and burning dirty fuels and to champion a new era of Clean Energy for a sustainable planet for our children and theirs.”

Outer Banks events
For folks participating in Hands Across the Sand Outer Banks, arrive just before noon at Jennette’s Pier. Nags Head Mayor Ben Cahoon and other representatives will speak before joining hands on the beach for 15 minutes and a photo. Event should conclude by 12:45 p.m.

Contact organizer Ivy Ingram at ivyraying@gmail.com or check the Facebook event.

Hand Across the Sand Ocracoke Island participants are to meet at Lifeguard Beach on Ocracoke Island at noon.

“Our Hands Across the Sand leaves only footprints. People come with signs and love for Mother Ocean and respectively stand for 15 minutes in solidarity for others doing the same along the coast,” said Mickey Baker, representing LegaSea. “It’s a surprise to many of the tourist who are settled on the beach for the day and are not aware of the event. Some choose to join us while others sit and watch. It is always an inspiring event.”

Contact Baker at Ocracokemickey@gmail.com.

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This story originally appeared on OBXToday.com. Read More local stories here.