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Their heart is in the right place but our dependence on oil goes way beyond just BP and todays spill.

Offshore oil drilling protest set at Illinois Beach park

June 21, 2010
By FRANK ABDERHOLDEN <!-- e --><a href="mailto:fabderholden@stmedianetwork.com">fabderholden@stmedianetwork.com</a><!-- e -->
A Hands Across The Sand event will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday at the Adeline Geo-Karis Illinois Beach State Park to protest offshore oil drilling, joining groups across the globe.

Mary Neff of Waukegan lives in Florida six months of the year and she went to her first event last February in Florida, which was a protest against Florida legislators and Congress who wanted to lift the ban on drilling off shore.

Thousands joined hands from Jacksonville to Miami Beach and Key West to Pensacola Beach, she said.

"This was two months before the oil disaster happened," said Neff, whose husband was part of the coaching staff for football at Waukegan High School for 42 years. "It is political, but it is not partisan." Neff expects to have three generations of her family there at Saturday's event.

"I don't know if we will get 100 or 1,000," she said. Interest has definitely picked up since the BP disaster. The Facebook page for Hands Across The Sand now has 20,000 people as friends.

After meeting at the state park, participants will hold hands at noon for 15 minutes. The Friends of the Waukegan Beach will be on hand and afterward people will be asked to help with a beach cleanup. The Waukegan Booster Club is also going to participate.

Neff's beach in Florida was expected to get hit with BP oil Thursday.

"Living half the year in Florida has made me acutely aware of the problems faced by all who depend on our oceans for their livelihood," she said.

Their slogan is "NO to Offshore Oil Drilling. YES to Clean Energy." Neff said participants must make sure they leave nothing but their footprints behind.