Tuesday, March 1, 2011

STILL REACHING OUT: One year later, HANDS ACROSS THE SAND founder plans a third protest of ‘filthy fuels'

March 01, 2011 11:51 AM

Katy Houghton
Not knowing the events that would follow, a year ago, Hands Across the Sand founder Dave Rauschkolb drew a “line in the sand” to take a stand against offshore drilling.

Months before it became an international movement, the first protest took place on Feb. 13, 2010, when nearly 10,000 Floridians joined hands across the coast in 60 cities and over 90 beaches in the Sunshine State.

“It was a cold day in February — a cold, clear day,” Rauschkolb said. “Yet we sent a very powerful image and a clear message to the Florida Legislature.”

 Hands Across the Sand began as a statewide gathering to protest the efforts of the Florida Legislature to lift the ban on offshore drilling.

“It wasn’t about politics. It was about the protection of our coastlines and our coastal economy and the protection of our beautiful waters and the wildlife within — and about the protection of our valuable tourism industry.”

Only 66 days after the protest, Rauschkolb’s greatest fears were realized.

“It just completely blows me away that the very thing we protested and joined hands to stop actually happened,” he said.

The Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill spewed approximately 205.8 million gallons of crude oil into the Gulf of Mexico and quickly became the largest accidental oil spill in history.

“I felt that this was the worst possible tragedy,” he said. “I wish I hadn’t been right.”

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