Coastal States Join “Hands Across the Sand” to Oppose Offshore Drilling Expansion and Safety Rollbacks

Demonstrations Across 18 States Come as Trump Administration Weakens Safety Protections for Offshore Oil and Gas Leasing

May 17, 2019
Contact: Jennifer Rennicks: (SACE), 865-235-1448, [email protected], Alex Frank, (703) 276-3264, [email protected]

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Concerned citizens, elected officials, local business owners, conservationists and others are gathering today to voice opposition to dirty and dangerous offshore drilling and exploration and the Trump administration’s rollback of drilling safety standards that were adopted in response to the BP Deepwater Horizon disaster.

The synchronized protests kick off with the annual Hands Across the Sand global day of action at noon local time which includes more than 95 events in 18 states and Washington D.C. For a full list of events visit:

The Hands Across the Sand demonstrations send a message to Secretary of Interior David Bernhardt and the Trump administration that Americans will not allow our oceans and coastal communities to be exposed to the threats of expanded dirty and dangerous offshore drilling, including harmful seismic airgun blasting used to search for oil and gas. Hundreds of local groups are supporting the effort, together with Surfrider Foundation, Southern Alliance for Clean Energy, Oceana, Sierra Club, Natural Resources Defense Council, Healthy Gulf, League of Conservation Voters, Earthjustice and many more.


“It is time that we join together and accomplish one of the most important things we can do as human beings, work to save our planet from fossil fuels.”

— Dede Shelton, executive director, Hands Across the Sand

“People are joining hands to draw a line in the sand against President Trump’s efforts to expand offshore drilling and seismic airgun blasting. It’s past time for President Trump and Secretary Bernhardt to officially end all radical plans to expand offshore drilling. The risk of another devastating BP Deepwater Horizon-like disaster would forever change the fabric of our coasts, threatening thriving coastal economies and lucrative industries like tourism, recreation and fishing.”

— Diane Hoskins, campaign director, Oceana

“Offshore oil drilling is a dirty and dangerous practice that threatens the health of our ocean, as well as our coastal recreation and tourism industries that generate billions of dollars for our nation’s economy. We call upon the Trump administration to cancel plan for expanded offshore drilling in U.S. waters.”

— Pete Stauffer, environmental director, Surfrider Foundation

“All across the country, people are standing together to oppose the Trump administration’s moves to expand drilling and make it more risky. Our beaches and coastal waters are not for sale to the highest bidder.”

— Alexandra Adams, legislative director for the Nature program, NRDC

“Thousands of coastal residents–Republicans and Democrats alike–turning out at Hands Across the Sand events should give notice to the Trump Administration that they must officially cancel their misguided, reckless, and deeply unpopular offshore drilling and seismic blasting expansion plans or see the consequences at the polls.”

— Chris Carnevale, Southern Alliance for Clean Energy

“Coastal communities are coming together to make it clear that the Trump administration’s reckless plan to sell off our waters to the oil and gas industry is unacceptable. Offshore drilling threatens our coastlines, communities, marine ecosystems, and climate. We won’t back down until all of our coasts are protected from these risks.”

 — Athan Manuel, lands protection program director, Sierra Club

“Hands Across the Sand has become more than a worldwide protest.  It is now an annual holiday celebrated by coastal communities that have stopped every attempt by the oil and gas industry over the past ten years to open new areas of the Gulf of Mexico, and the Atlantic, Pacific, Indian, and Arctic Oceans to offshore drilling.”

Frank Jackalone, Florida Chapter director, Sierra Club


Hands Across the Sand events are taking place Saturday in 18 states and the District of Columbia: California, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Indiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New Hampshire, New York, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin, Washington, D.C.— as well as in Australia, Belize, Canada, and New Zealand.

Tens of thousands of local businesses and hundreds of thousands of fishing families that depend on clean coasts, over 350 coastal municipalities, many Alaska Natives, and bipartisan lawmakers at the local, state and federal levels, reject the Trump administration’s move to expand dirty and dangerous offshore drilling and energy exploration. Theirs is a sentiment shared by the majority of Americans, who oppose the expansion of offshore drilling.

To learn more, please visit



Hands Across the Sand is an international day of action by activists and beachgoers to say no to dirty offshore drilling and call for investment in clean, renewable energy sources like offshore wind. Participants join hands to “draw a line in the sand,” creating a powerful visual symbol of the widespread resistance to expanding fossil fuel production. Floridian Dave Rauschkolb founded Hands Across the Sand/Land in October 2009. Hands Across the Sand/Land is sponsored by national environmental organizations and others including; Oceana, Surfrider Foundation, Southern Alliance for Clean Energy, Sierra Club, Natural Resources Defense Council, League of Conservation Voters, Earthjustice, SoWal, Healthy Gulf, Urban Paradise Guild and Bud and Alley’s. For more, please visit

Southern Alliance for Clean Energy is a nonprofit organization, founded in 1985, that promotes responsible energy choices that work to address the impacts of global climate change and ensure clean, safe, and healthy communities throughout the Southeast. Learn more at