A global event that promotes a clean energy future and opposes new offshore drilling is this Saturday.
“Hands Across the Sand” will bring together people at three locations at the Jersey Shore, with crowds gathering to lock hands in Long Branch, Bradley Beach, and Point Pleasant at noon. More information about the rain or shine event can be found here.
According to Hands Across the Sand organizer Dave Rauschkolb, groups will join hands for 15 minutes at noon in their respective time zones, forming lines in the sand, or on land, against dirty fuels.
The Jersey Shore’s Surfrider Foundation chapter says this year is particularly timely given the Trump administration’s recent executive order that could potentially expand oil and gas development in the Atlantic Ocean.
The action reverses former President Barack Obama’s action late last year that permanently banned drilling in nearly 4 million acres in the northern and middle portions of the Atlantic Ocean.
Some executives in the energy industry say drilling is important for the economy.
Thomas Pyle, president of the Institute for Energy Research, an industry trade group, told NJ Spotlight last year that restricting drilling would impact “the poor and middle class, who would benefit most from greater access to affordable, reliable energy.”
But Rep. Frank Pallone Jr., representing a portion of the northern Jersey Shore, said late last year that an oil spill would have significant consequences.
Pallone said that preventing drilling would protect coastal communities, commercial fisheries, wildlife, and tourism. In New Jersey, the tourism economy supports 312,000 jobs and generates $38 billion in revenue annually.
“The economic and health benefits of taking that step cannot be underestimated,” he said.