Residents and visitors of Pinellas County are asked to join in a statewide demonstration to oppose near shore oil drilling. On Saturday, February 13th at 1 p.m.
People from all walks of life and political affiliations will gather at beaches throughout Florida in what may be the single largest public gathering in the history of the state, according to a press release. During the event, all participants throughout the state will join hands at 1:30 p.m. for 15 minutes, creating a metaphorical “line in the sand.”
This “show of hands” will symbolize the intention to protect Florida beaches from potential environmental destruction that near shore oil extraction could create. Pending legislation would permit oil drilling as close as 3 to 10 miles off the state's coast.
Wildlife and environment, fisheries, the quality of life for residents, and Florida’s vital tourist industry could all be drastically affected by spills, oil transportation accidents and other mishaps that have polluted the beaches of other Gulf cities where near shore oil drilling has been allowed, according to organizers of teh event.
The effort is a grassroots initiative organized by north Florida restaurant owner Dave Rauschkolb.
“This is a simple, nonpartisan way for Floridians to join hands to protect our state’s most important asset – our waterways and beaches,” Rauschkolb said. “Our goal is to convince legislators and Gov. Charlie Crist to drop the folly of offshore drilling. All it takes is one accident – one oil spill – and it is just not worth the risk to our environment and our coastal tourism industry.”
Locally, concerned residents are being asked to congregate about 1 p.m. and join hands from 1:30 to 1:45 p.m. at one of four beach locations in Pinellas County.
Those locations are:
• South Pinellas – Upham Beach to the Pinellas County Park at 4278 Gulf Blvd.; Parking: Sirata, TradeWinds Island Grand and Sandpiper Suites, County Access.
• South Pinellas – Treasure Island between 104th and 112th avenues. Parking: Behind Walgreen’s, Allied parking lot, Treasure Island Community Center, two municipal parking lots, Redington Shores Beach Access County Park, 18200 Gulf Blvd. Free parking on street or pay parking in lot across the street.
• Mid-Pinellas – Indian Rocks Beach, 1700 Gulf Blvd. (across from Guppy’s restaurant), Parking in the municipal parking lot.
• North Pinellas – Clearwater Beach at Pier 60.
• Gulfport Beach - Participants meet at Gulfport Casino on the corner of Shore and Beach boulevards.
Those participating will join hands at the shoreline, creating human lines in the sand.
Special guest scheduled to attend the Gulfport event include Florida State Representative Rick Kriseman (District 53), Gulfport Mayor Mike Yakes and Gulfport City Councilmember Michele King.