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Posted at 5:20 PM ET, 12/ 1/2010

McDonnell unhappy with drilling decision

By Anita Kumar

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar announced Wednesday that the Obama administration will not allow offshore oil drilling in the eastern Gulf of Mexico or off the Atlantic and Pacific coasts as part of the next five-year drilling plan, reversing two key policy changes President Obama announced in late March, according to The Post's Juliet Eilperin.

In March -- less than a month before the BP oil spill -- Obama and Salazar said they would open up the eastern gulf and parts of the Atlantic, including off the coast of Virginia, to offshore oil and gas exploration. On both of those new areas, the administration said it would start scoping to see whether oil and gas drilling would be suitable.

Virginia Gov. Robert McDonnell (R) issued a scathing statement in response to Obama's decision. The governor said he expressed his disappointment to Salazar in a phone call Wednesday afternoon.

"This is an irresponsible and short-sighted decision,'' he said. "It demonstrates a complete lack of confidence in the entrepreneurial spirit of American industry and its ability to fix the problems experienced in the Gulf spill, and no confidence in the ability of the U.S. government to better plan for and react to offshore emergencies."

Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) said he joins with McDonnell in opposing President Obama's decision to restrict oil and gas drilling off the coast of Virginia for the next seven years.

Read more about reaction to the Obama administration's decision on the Virginia Politics blog.

By Anita Kumar  | December 1, 2010; 5:20 PM ET
Categories:  Virginia  
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