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Oil Drilling Opponents Rally at Maine Beaches

June 24, 2011

PORTLAND, Maine - Mainers will join hands along beaches on Saturday for the second annual "Hands Across the Sand" event. The demonstrations oppose expanding coastal and offshore drilling, and support clean-energy choices.

Advocacy organizations such as Oceana will join other environmental groups to keep up the pressure to protect Maine's coast, which they see as important for the state's tourism and lobstering economy. Ben Hayman, director of Oceana's Maine Climate and Energy Campaign, says Congress is proposing dramatic increases to offshore drilling but has done nothing to implement safety recommendations from the Oil Spill Commission.

"Despite last year's oil spill in the gulf, there are renewed calls in Congress to expand offshore oil drilling, including opening up previously protected areas along the East Coast, thus creating the potential of an oil spill reaching us right here in Maine."

Hayman touts cleaner and safer alternatives to offshore drilling, such as solar and wind power.

"Particularly offshore wind power here in Maine. We have an amazing potential that could bring billions of dollars of investment to the state and create thousands of jobs. It's also a matter of increasing energy efficiency."

Events will take place at noon at beaches in Portland and York, and across the nation at noon in each time zone. Attendees will join hands for 15 minutes while standing along waterways. Details are online at handsacrossthesand.com.

Monique Coppola, Public News Service - ME