( – promoted by lowkell)
(As published in the Virginian-Pilot, June 24, 2010)In March, I met with three friends to discuss holding a ‘Hands Across the Sand’ event in Virginia Beach. We were inspired by the 10,000 Floridians who, a month earlier, had joined hands to draw lines in the sand along 80 beaches to protest offshore drilling in state waters. At that time, Virginia’s ocean was also under the gun for drilling. Having been carelessly fast-tracked through a flawed drilling program, Virginia was poised to be auctioned off to the highest bidder as early as 2012.
Then the BP disaster occurred.
Virginia’s one event, originally planned for just the beach area off 19th Street, has now stretched to 31st. Instead of organizing one beach, we now have five organized in Sandbridge, North End, Ocean View and Buckroe. More than 20 organizations have now joined Sierra Club, Oceana and Surfrider Foundation. The feelings of anger, helplessness and contempt are palpable. We want to do something to help. Assembling en masse on our Virginia beaches is one way to do that.
The message behind Hands Across the Sand is simple: no more offshore drilling. What happened on our Gulf Coast must be a wake-up call to end our addiction to oil and to exclusively focus our attention on development of clean, renewable energy such as offshore wind, with its potential to create jobs.
For years, the oil industry has raked in the highest profits in the world, successfully lobbied for loopholes and subsidies and written its own safety regulations. Its agenda became status quo, and too many of our leaders in both Washington and Richmond succumbed to it. We cannot let this happen again.
Virginians’ rise to declare freedom from oil starts Saturday.