49 Southeast Communities Join Hands Against Offshore Drilling

Chris Carnevale | May 21, 2019 | Electric Vehicles, Offshore Drilling

Last Saturday, 49 communities along the Southeast coast hosted Hands Across the Sand events to advocate for clean energy instead of offshore drilling. Hands Across the Sand events bring community members together at their local beaches to join hands in a line representing their drawing a line in the sand against offshore drilling. The Southeast events comprised about half of the 100 total events that happened worldwide.

Coastal residents came out in force because offshore drilling threatens our coastal environments and economies, and should be phased out, not expanded, especially as the coming electric vehicle (EV) revolution makes offshore drilling obsolete, as shown by SACE’s recent analysis. Clean energy and EVs are viable now and will only become less expensive and more widely available while offshore drilling will become a relic of the past. To learn more about how electric vehicles can replace offshore drilling, see our fact sheet here.

These events came as the Trump Administration is moving to approve risky seismic airgun exploration for oil and gas in the Atlantic, which is the first step toward drilling. In spite of the seismic airgun blasting and offshore drilling being deeply unpopular along the Atlantic and Florida Gulf coasts, the Administration is plowing ahead with permitting six companies’ seismic airgun applications (though they are temporarily held up in court now), and the Administration recently confirmed that they are still considering opening vast swaths of ocean to drilling, even where drilling is strongly opposed by residents and could have major environmental impacts.

In response to this threat upon the coasts, Southeast communities mobilized for Hands Across the Sand for the ninth year in a row — ever since the catastrophic Deepwater Horizon disaster.

Here are some photos and videos of events from around our region.

North Carolina residents hosted 11 events, drawing a total of more than 1,200 people in total. One of the largest events was on Oak Island, where 221 people gathered. Nearly 200 people showed up at the Bogue Banks event as well.

Oak Island, North Carolina, Hands Across the Sand event. Photo credit: Kristen Colleran


Bogue Banks, North Carolina, Hands Across the Sand event. Photo credit: Bogue Banks Surfrider

South Carolinians hosted seven events up and down the coast, from North Myrtle Beach to Hilton Head Island. The Folly Beach event drew speeches from Republican and Democratic politicians alike, including Congressman Joe Cunningham. Video of the press conference is here. See Channel 2 coverage here.

Congressman Joe Cunningham speaks at Folly Beach, SC Hands Across the Sand. Photo credit: Coastal Conservation League

Georgians held their Hands event on Tybee Island, hosted by Mayor Jason Buelterman. See the WSAV coverage here.

Florida residents held an amazing 30 events around the state. The large number of events is indicative of how important it is to Floridians to protect their beaches from the impacts of offshore drilling — which was shown at the polls last year with the overwhelming passage of Amendment 9, constitutionally banning offshore drilling in state waters. SACE staffers Dory Larsen and Kelsey Grentzer attended the event in Dunedin, where a beach cleanup coordinated by the Salty Soul Foundation led up to a speech by the event coordinator and City Commissioner Jeff Gow. Holding hands in saying ‘NO’ to fossil fuels were Dunedin’s mayor, vice mayor and sustainability coordinator. Dory spoke about how electric vehicles can offset the need for offshore drilling in currently protected waters and offered test drives to participants so they could experience the benefits of driving electric for themselves.

Dunedin, Florida, Hands Across the Sand event. Photo credit: Kelsey Grentzer

Altogether, thousands of Southeast residents stood together on Saturday to say no to offshore drilling and yes to clean energy – including clean, safe transportation solutions like those offered by electric vehicles.

Chris Carnevale
Chris is SACE’s Climate Advocacy Director. Chris joined the SACE staff in 2011 to help with building public understanding and engagement around clean energy solutions to the climate crisis. Chris…
My Profile