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Rep. Rutherford, Other Officials To Join Offshore Drilling Protest At Jacksonville Beach

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Opponents of President Donald Trump’s plan to expand offshore drilling will be coming together Saturday in Jacksonville Beach to protest. They’ll also be protesting seismic airgun testing off the Atlantic coast.

Called Hands Across the Sand, the Jacksonville Beach event is one of more than 20 planned across the state.

The Jacksonville Beach event is being organized by Oceana, the Surfrider Foundation First Coast ChapterSierra Club Northeast Florida GroupSea Shepherd Jacksonville and Beaches Go Green.

People will be meeting at 11 a.m. at tents set up on the north side of the Jacksonville Beach Pier. The scheduled speakers are:

  • Congressman John Rutherford, R-FL4
  • City Councilmember Bill Gulliford, City of Jacksonville
  • Mayor Charlie Latham, City of Jacksonville Beach
  • Mayor Elaine Brown, City of Neptune Beach
  • Mayor Johnny Miller, City of Fernandina Beach

At noon, organizers plan to have everyone form a line on the shorelines with surfers paddling out.
Among those leading the charge to ban seismic testing in the Atlantic is Northeast Florida Rep. John Rutherford. 

The tests work by using airguns to send sound waves through the water to image the sea floor. The waves then bounce back to deliver information about the location of buried oil and gas.

Rutherford and opponents of seismic testing say offshore oil and gas drilling isn't worth endangering marine life.

More information about Hands Across The Sand is available here.

Bill Bortzfield can be reached at, 904-358-6349 or on Twitter at @BortzInJax.