SC Residents Joined Hands to Protect Coasts

Guest Blog | August 7, 2012 | Press Releases

Charleston, SC — On Saturday, August 4, 180 communities in 32 states and 15 countries came together to protect their local beach from offshore drilling and other fossil fuels. The events were organized as part of Hands Across the Sand, an international effort to give a voice to concerned coastal residents who do not want offshore drilling to take place off their coast. Charleston hosted its own Hands gathering at Folly Beach, next to the Folly Beach Fishing Pier. The event kicked off with comments about offshore drilling delivered by Chris Carnevale, Coastal Climate and Energy Coordinator for Southern Alliance for Clean Energy, Mayor Tim Goodwin, Mayor of Folly Beach, and Hamilton Davis, Energy and Climate Director for Coastal Conservation League. At 12:00 pm, 60 attendees joined hands along the beach, forming a line in the sand. “The line drawn by the event participants was a way for area residents to communicate that they want to protect the beach from the impacts of offshore drilling,” said Chris Carnevale of Southern Alliance for Clean Energy. “The impacts of offshore oil and gas operations are far ranging for our coast and start with the exploration process itself. For those who say we should just explore to see what’s out there, we need to remember that the 2010 Gulf oil catastrophe was caused by drilling a merely exploratory well.” The main subjects in the delivered comments highlighted the risks associated with offshore drilling, the risky nature of the oil and gas exploration process, the threat to South Carolina’s tourism and fishing industries posed by offshore operations, and the state’s immense potential for clean renewable energy production. “Some shrimpers and oystermen in the Gulf report that their harvests are down by 75 percent since the 2010 spill. Is this what we want for our coast?” asked Carnevale. Mayor Tim Goodwin noted that there were hundreds of people up in arms at the Hands Across the Sand event in June 2010, just months after the Gulf spill started, and yet people tend to forget about tragic events like that and move on. “I assume people forget what happened in the Gulf two years ago can happen again tomorrow,” said Goodwin, who also noted that the Exxon Valdez oil spill was quickly forgotten. Hamilton Davis highlighted the many clean energy opportunities for South Carolina, including having the second largest offshore wind energy resource on the eastern seaboard, the tenth highest solar energy potential in the nation, and substantial biomass resources. Additionally, there are significant opportunities to reduce energy demand and improve the current ranking of South Carolina being the 46th least energy efficient state in the country. Renewables and efficiency can offset the billions of dollars per year that leave the state annually for fuel purchases. “Broader policy support for energy efficiency and renewable energy will lead to a more prosperous and cleaner energy future for South Carolina,” says Hamilton. Since its first year in 2010, thousands of Hands gatherings have taken place in all 50 states and 40 countries worldwide, including Folly Beach gatherings in 2010 and 2011. More information about Hands Across the Sand can be found at IMAGES AVAILABLE UPON REQUEST. # # # Southern Alliance for Clean Energy is a not-