This Saturday, Feb13th – Show your love by protecting our coastline from off-shore drilling.

This Saturday, all around the coast of Florida, thousands of people will gather at their area beaches to show how important it is to protect our coastline.  Hands Across The Sand is a grass roots organization formed only a few short months ago when it was realized how real the possibility of off-shore oil drilling is to Florida’s future.

In 2009, the Florida House of Representatives voted on a last minute bill that would allow our coastline to be leased out to oil companies for the possibility of drilling for oil.  The demise of the bill was only when the Florida Senate said that there was not enough time to do a full discovery and therefor decided not to bring it up for a vote.   But the House vote was enough to send shock waves  to the citizens of Florida to alert them to the seriousness of drilling off our coast.

On a federal level, Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) is pushing for drilling off the coast of Florida to be put into the Federal Energy bill that will be brought forth in the Senate.  And since he has become an important vote for an energy bill to pass, he just might get his wish.

The real question you must ask yourself is this: “Why is it so important to protest the drilling off our coast, if there is a good chance that the federal government will legislate it anyway?”   The answer is this: If we give away our rights to our coastline, we will have no seat at the table when it comes to fighting off-shore drilling in the federal waters.  You will hear, “The people in Florida support it off their coast, what is the problem?”

But the problem is that no one really believes that there is enough oil to be obtained off of the Florida coast to sustain us. The real find is in the federal waters.   Breaking down the politics and the people of Florida is just the first step in obtaining leases in deeper waters.  What we sacrifice is what the oil companies will do in the meantime to our coastal regions.  Exploration alone can do enough damage to our waters that will in turn take decades to repair.

  Oil exploration doesn’t have to get to the point of drilling the well to do damage, because even the mapping of rock formations–which would probably occur prior to leasing–requires use of explosives-level seismic air guns. What’s that mean? Here’s a description from the Canadian group, Oil Free Coast:

This deafening noise causes fish swim bladders to explode, it kills marine larvae and disrupts the traditional migratory paths of some fish species and marine mammals, such as whales and dolphins. In some places, these disturbances have resulted in reductions in commercial fish catches up to 50 percent, and have caused whales to leave waters where they are habitually found. – Florida Vacationers and off-shore drilling 

 This is the concern for the citizens of Florida.  The people of Hands Across the Sand want our nation to know that they will not sit idlely by and allow our coastline to be sacrificed to the Oil Companies.  Drilling for oil uis not the answer to our energy problems.  It is also not the answer to our national safety.  We want our voices to be heard, not only within the Florida Legislature, but also within the federal government.  This is not a ploitical movement to chose party sides.  This is a Florida movement to protect our coastline.

This movement is not about politics; it is about protection of our shoreline, our tourism, our valuable properties and our way of life. Let us share our knowledge, energies and passion for protecting our waterways and beaches from the devastating effects of oil drilling.- Hands Across The Sand

 It is important that we not take for granted that the battle has been put off for another day.  The Oil companies have been working on this for years. They have invested a lot in this movement. All the Florida Senate did was ask for more time to study the bill.  There is nothing that says it won’t be back this legislative session.  We cannot sit back and wait for someone else to do the job for us.  Our voices need to be heard by everyone.

So this Saturday, as you are running around picking up your last minute Valentine’s Day Gifts, stop by your local beach  and show your love for our coastline.  You can find the nearest event on their website.  And for those of you in Tallahassee, don’t fret – there’s an event there for you too!

Remember, battles are not one at the last minute.  Every step is important.

Click here to find your nearest location: Hands Across the Sand – Key Beaches

Additional information on Oil Exploration: Underwater Exploitation

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