Hands Across the Sand rally on Ocracoke last May. Photo: P. Vankevich

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By Peter Vankevich

Ocracoke will once again head to the beach and join more than 80 other locations from 12 states, as well as Canada, Australia, Belize and New Zealand, for the Hands Across America show of solidarity to protect the coasts and ocean.  

Florida has the most locations with 23 as of Sunday and more locations nationally and internationally may be added by Saturday.  This is the 10th annual Hands Across the Sand demonstration and Ocracoke has participated in each one.

Participants will meet at Lifeguard beach at noon for the 15-minute demonstration.

“Thanks to the passion and love for our planet, those who organize events for Hands Across the Sand, will surely create a powerful image of solidarity with the goal to save our oceans for future generations,” said Dede Shelton, the organization’s executive director. “They are all heroes.” 

On Ocracoke, Hands is coordinated by Mickey Baker.  She is one of the founders of LegaSea a Manteo and Ocracoke-based grass-roots group in the late 1980s responsible for getting a 20-year moratorium on Atlantic offshore drilling.

“I encourage everyone who cares about protecting our ocean and island to show up,” she said. “We continue to stand against offshore drilling seismic testing.”

Last month, Interior Secretary David Bernhardt announced that it will delay the release of the administration’s long-awaited plan that had been expected to open most of the nation’s coastline for offshore oil drilling, pending the final outcome of a court decision in March that blocks drilling in the Alaskan Arctic.

Opposition to offshore drilling has been substantial with all governors, both Democrats and Republicans, on the East Coast, from Maine to Florida, on record as against it.  Many coastal counties and communities have also opposed offshore drilling and related seismic air gun blasting used to identify oil and gas deposits as unacceptable risks to East Coast economies, marine life and the environment.

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