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Oil Disaster Pushes Florida Event to Arizona and Worldwide

June 25, 2010

PHOENIX - An event that started in Florida aimed at warning of the dangers of offshore oil drilling has spread to Arizona. It's called Hands Across the Sand, and the mission is to steer energy policy away from dependence on fossil fuels and toward clean energy. In February, people joined hands across Florida beaches, but the disaster in the Gulf has pushed the significance of the event far beyond Florida to places like Arizona, according to founder and Florida restaurant owner Dave Rauschkolb.

"Americans are going to be joining hands. It doesn't matter whether they are Democrats, Republicans, conservatives or liberals. Americans feel very strongly and deeply about their coastal heritage."

Shannon Miller, Florida program coordinator for Defenders of Wildlife, says the disaster in the Gulf of Mexico is exactly what they feared and warned of in February.

"This was our worst nightmare. This is exactly what we were trying to tell people was going to happen. In fact, it's what we were trying to get our governments to prevent."

Miller says the oil spewing into the Gulf now has created a new urgency and put the focus on Hands Across the Sand.

"Unfortunately, it had to be this spill that created such a buzz about it, but I think people now are really concerned."

She is convinced that it will take years before the ecological and environmental impacts of the disaster are fully understood.

Hands Across the Sand will be observed in all 50 states and at least 20 countries worldwide starting at noon Saturday local time. Arizona events are scheduled for Wheeler Park in Flagstaff and in Buckeye.
Information about the events is online at Doug Ramsey, Public News Service - AZ