GloucesterTimes.com, Gloucester, MA

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June 24, 2011

Anti-drilling demonstration set for Pavilion Beach

Gloucester fisherman, environmentalists, summer beachgoers and ocean users from all walks of life will join hands along Pavilion Beach Saturday in what organizers say is an act of solidarity against any expanded offshore oil drilling in New England's ocean.

The Gloucester demonstration — first carried out last year — is set for noon, and is part of the international "Hands Across the Sands" day of action aimed at opposing reliance on polluting oil and gas, calling for clean energy solutions, and raising awareness of the dangers of off-shore drilling.

"We are gathering together to send a message," said Angela Sanfilippo, president of the Gloucester Fisherman's Wives Association and one of the organizers of the event. "Fishermen, environmentalists, surfers, sailors and beach-goers are all joining together to keep oil off of our coast."

Winston Vaughan, Community Outreach Associate for the Conservation Law Foundation, said that, with the passage of pro-drilling legislation in the U.S. House, "oil drilling off of New England's coast is a real threat for the first time since 1977."

"Our ocean is a livelihood and a way of life for fishing communities like Gloucester, and it provides healthy local food to communities across New England," added Sanfilippo. "Oil drilling is a direct threat to our environment, our local food supply, our jobs and our way of life. The ocean is simply too valuable to drill."

Hands Across The Sand is a movement supporting the advancement of clean energy sources that will sustain our planet. On June 26, 2010, more than 1,000 Hands Across the Sand events took place in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico — including two in Gloucester alone, at Pavilion Beach and Good Harbor Beach.

Sanfilippo said this year's event demonstration, however, is focused solely in Pavilion Beach, where it also coincides with Saturday's St. Peter's Fiesta events.

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