People join hands to show disapproval of offshore drilling

Published: May. 17, 2014 at 9:07 PM CDT|Updated: May. 18, 2014 at 9:54 AM CDT
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OCEAN SPRINGS, MS (WLOX) - People all over the nation joined hands on Saturday in an effort to make a statement to stop offshore drilling. Right here in South Mississippi, people gathered in Ocean Springs to show their support.

For several minutes, at noon, these people held hands as a symbolic barrier against spilled oil and the impact offshore drilling and other dirty fuel projects have on our communities.

"We have our barrier islands out here, and the tourists come here. So many people in Mississippi depend on the tourist trade dollar to survive," said supporter Maxine Ramsay.

The possibility of offshore drilling in Mississippi waters is very real. Helen Rose Patterson, who works for the Gulf Restoration Network, says because of our tourism based economy, offshore drilling is just bad news.

"When you look at other communities that have drilling offshore, they see real drops in their economic activity. Especially around tourism, because people don't want to come visit our barrier islands and our beaches if there are gas rigs right out there on the horizon," said Patterson.

Hands Across the Sand is a nationwide event organized by the Tar Sands Coalition and Hands Across the Land. It was founded in 2010 and grew into an international movement after the BP oil disaster.

"Different events in different places focus on different aspects of that. Obviously, here in Mississippi, we have real concerns about off shore drilling around our barrier islands and within the view of this beautiful beach," said Patterson.

Organizers passed out information and signs for supporters to put in their yards to show their disapproval of offshore drilling.

"The idea is that we need to be moving to renewable energy sources, creating a clean future and getting ourselves off of fossil fuels," said Patterson.

During the event, several beach goers stopped by the Gulf Restoration table to learn more. Organizers say spreading awareness is the most important thing they can do.

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