Staff Report for The Island Connection
Photos by Lindsey Leigh
May 19, local residents and elected officials gathered on Folly Beach for a demonstration against offshore drilling. The event was part of the international Hands Across the Sand day of action, with 118 events across the country and around the globe, including simultaneous events in Myrtle Beach and Hilton Head Island.
Residents and activists joined hands, forming a long line along the beach, and to show opposition to drilling off of South Carolina’s coast.
“Coastal citizens stand united against offshore drilling and the unprecedented and unwarranted expansion of drilling proposed by the White House,” said Chris Carnevale of the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy, who organized the event with local partner groups.
Prior to the demonstration, a group of local and state level elected officials delivered comments on offshore drilling.
Folly Beach Mayor Tim Goodwin said, “If you build it (oil rigs); it will leak!”
State Representative Peter McCoy (R-Charleston), said, “Our South Carolina beaches are far too beautiful and have such a powerful impact economically on our State to put them in jeopardy from offshore drilling. I stand with our coastal communities across the State to draw a line in the sand to say no to drilling off our coast.
Charleston Mayor John Tecklenburg spoke about how he used to own an oil distribution business called Southern Oil, and could attest from personal experience that oil “is not a clean business.” “We don’t have the industrial space—or would want it—for processing and refining of oil products in South Carolina,” Tecklenburg said. “We don’t want this business here in South Carolina. Our coastline is too precious.”
Charleston County Council member Joe Qualey said, “Our natural resources are a gift and are fragile. We owe it to ourselves and future generations to be good stewards. The time is now to say no to activity that jeopardizes the purity and beauty of our oceans and beaches.”
Co-hosts for the local Hands Across the Sand event on Folly Beach included the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy, Oceana, Surfrider Foundation – Charleston Chapter, Coastal Conservation League, Don’t Drill Lowcountry, Citizens’ Climate Lobby – Charleston Chapter, Charleston Waterkeeper, the Robert Lunz Group of the Sierra Club, and South Carolina Wildlife Federation.
Since its first year in 2010, thousands of Hands gatherings have taken place in all 50 states and 40 countries worldwide, including annual events on Folly Beach since 2010. More information about Hands Across the Sand can be found at HandsAcrossTheSand.org