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Hands Across the Sand Links Groups Opposed to Drilling

By Rhonda Miller | Published 04 Aug 2012 11:41pm | comments
Environmental groups join Hands Across the Sand on the beach in Biloxi.

The Mississippi Development Authority and two environmental groups face off this week over regulations on drilling in state waters. MPB’s Rhonda Miller reports thousands of people around the world, including some in Mississippi, say linking hands across the sand is one way to say ‘no’ to offshore drilling.

"...Come back upstairs and get a cold drink…"

With temperatures in the 90s and the noon sun bearing down, the group on the Biloxi beach let up a cheer Saturday after linking hands as part of an international event called Hands Across the Sand.

After 18 years in Biloxi, Mary Larson wants to preserve her treasure.

"If you could see what I see, this beautiful pristine shore.  As far as you can see, water, it runs into the sky. I don’t want to see any drilling rigs in-between."

The state finalized regulations for drilling one mile off Mississippi’s barrier islands in March. But Raleigh Hoke of the Gulf Restoration Network isn’t waiting around for the rigs to show up.

"We want to make sure that we protect our coastal economy and our environment. We don't want to see drilling in Mississippi's waters. And having these rules in place and having the ability for companies to go out is a big concern."

As a member of the state Commission on Marine Resources and owner of a commercial fishing company, Steve Bosarge favors shallow water drilling in Mississippi.

"Shallow water drilling within the Gulf of Mexico has gone on for years and years and years, and they've become pretty proficient at it. It takes place in our neighboring state of Alabama. It seems to mix well with tourism, with boating. We all depend on fossil fuels every day of our lives."

"Well, personally, I believe, as a young person who is in college, that we need to move past the age of burning things."

That’s 23-year-old Liz Kazal, of Ocean Springs, who’s a member of Students for a Sustainable Campus at Mississippi State University.

"And so I would really like to see Mississippi stand up and say, ‘We want to lead in terms of renewable energy. We want to show you that we are ready for new and alternative energies to move into this state'."

On Wednesday, an administrative hearing begins in Jackson on the Sierra Club and the Gulf Restoration Network’s legal challenge to offshore drilling rules set by the Mississippi Development Authority. 




Environmental groups join Hands Across the Sand on the beach in Biloxi.



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