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‘Hands Across The Sand’ sends message Saturday

February 12, 2010

A group of environmentalists are forming a human chain from the Lee County fishing pier to Lani Kai on Fort Myers Beach at 1:30 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 13, to raise awareness about the pending Florida legislation to drill oil in our coastal waters. 'Hands Across The Sand' encourages everyone to join this action by assembling on the beach front around this location at 1 p.m., to create as long a line and as many lines as wished.

Many state Gulf-side beach communities as well as towns on the east coast of Florida are also expected to participate. The action is to show opposition and convince Governor Charlie Crist and other legislators to drop any and all legislation that would allow oil drilling as close as three to 10 miles off the Florida coastland, according to Event Coordinator Pat Titterington.

Titterington, who is an energy consultant for Fafco Solar Energy, will be at the event and encourages anyone and everyone to join him. He can be reached by email at or by calling 424-0097.

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Gulf of Mexico off-shore oil drilling sites are shown in black. Will a Florida ban on oil drilling be overturned?

"From the pier to the Lani Kai we will be there at 1 p.m.," said Titterington. "At 1:30 p.m., we will literally hold hands, make a chain and hopefully get some photography coverage so that we can send photos to Tallahassee."

Titterington said Clearwater and Sarasota are some of the West coast beach community towns participating in the event. East coasts towns around Sebastian inlet are also involved because oil drilling may occur on that coast as well.

Titterington encourages anyone who wants to raise awareness through this action can assemble anywhere along the coast -even if it is just 10 people standing on Bonita Beach. The picture he paints is grim.

"I think people come to the beaches for its natural beauty," he said. "Without tourism, all these businesses on the Beach will be gone."

Fafco Solar Owner Dan Morrissey is also involved in Hands Across The Sand.

"We all love our beaches, and we want to keep them clean for everyone to enjoy," said Morrissey. "When you stand on Fort Myers Beach, you can look out and see Sanibel Island, and that's how close they propose to drill for oil -three to 10 miles off shore."

Titterington believes what has happened along the coast of Texas, Louisiana and Mississippi will occur in Southwest Florida if oil drilling occurs.

"The infrastructure that goes along with this is really going to be an eyesore," he said. "Since the drilling is three miles away, you don't see the dirt and silt. But, the silver pipes and valves and refineries are inland."

Then there is the oil spillage to consider. While a spill along the coast of Mississippi dissipates into the Gulf, one oil accident in Southwest Florida is a different story.

"If we have an oil spill around here, it goes into the Back Bay, and it's in those mangroves forever," said Titterington.

Being in the energy business, Titterington knows it is just a matter of time when oil drilling reaches Florida. He just hopes the alternatives such as nuclear, hydrogen and other resources for energy prevents this from happening.

"If real estate on the island and around this community declines because of the economy, can you imagine what an oil spill would do," said Titterington. "I bet it would diminish the property values everywhere along the coast greatly."

Titterington and other environmentalists are hoping this organized, statewide coastal movement will bring thousands of the state's citizens and visitors to the beaches for "metaphorical and actual lines" in the sand.

Hands Across The Sand is devoted to protecting the coastline and waterways from the devastating environmental effects of oil exploration and support industries. To join its mailing list or check on updates on event locations, go to



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