Save The Bay's rally was to protest a federal plan to open up 90 percent of U.S. continental-shelf waters to oil and gas exploration and drilling. It was also part of a collective community effort that began with a press conference at the State House, organized by the Environment Council of Rhode Island, and ended with a Climate Action R.I.-organized mock public hearing inside the Marriott, where the federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management was offering one-on-one informational sessions about the federal plan.
A member of the press asked me what we hope to accomplish with our rally. Getting New England waters exempted from the federal plan, was my answer. Then: "Can we really influence the federal government?" At the press conference, Gov. Gina Raimondo had said that if this administration has taught us anything, it's not to be surprised by anything.
Who knows if we can influence the federal government at this juncture? I know there's too much at stake to do nothing. And I have to believe that when we come together—passionate environmentalists, environmental groups each with their own distinct focus, and regular folks who care about our environment and economy for their children and grandchildren—to show our collective commitment, to stand tall and shout loudly and proudly, "No Drills! No Spills!" we can accomplish anything.