• Community joins activists in offshore drilling protest in Jacksonville Beach on Saturday

    By: Alicia Tarancon , Action News Jax


    JACKSONVILLE BEACH, Fla. - “Stop the drilling! Protect our coast!”

    That’s what groups of people were chanting as they linked hands with one another on Jacksonville Beach.

    Activists and environmental groups told Action News Jax they were protesting President Donald Trump's administration’s proposal to expand drilling off the nation’s coasts. 


    Jane Schepker goes to the beach almost every day and she’s said she’s tired of seeing people polluting the shoreline. 

    “Lot of cigarette butts … that’s annoying and some people that don’t pick up their dog poop,” Schepker said.

    Deborah Lightfield, another beachgoer said something needs to be done now because time is running out.

    “We are not going to have our planet in 22 years. It’s been proven, I mean science is real,” Lightfield said.  

    Together they’re linking hands with other activists demanding cleaner energy and protesting fossil fuels.

    Jacksonville Beach is just one of more than 20 beaches in Florida that’s joining “Hands Across the Sand" to protest offshore drilling.

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    Earlier this month, the Trump Administration proposed expanding oil and gas drilling off the nation’s coasts. 

    Those in support of the administration’s plan say the president is putting government land to good use by creating new jobs and reducing the cost of energy. 

    But organizers tell Action News Jax this proposal puts our coast at risk.

    “We don’t want to see an oil rig off the coast of any first coast beach, so that’s what we’re here to do is to educate,” said Erin Handy, a Field Campaign Manager for Oceana.  

    For Schepker, keeping the oceans clean is personal.  

    “We need to protect our kids and grandkids and who wants to be walking and swimming in the beach with a bunch of plastic and chemicals,” she said.

    This year Hands Across the Sand is taking place in more than 100 events across the world.

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