Oil spill has already reached Virginia
Oil has seeped onto Virginian turf in the wake of the massive Gulf of Mexico spill.
But it's not by way of our beaches; it's by way of BP stock. The company's plummeting share prices have cost Virginia's state pension fund
close to $40 million ever since the April explosion.
Before the spill, the fund held 8.5 million BP shares worth $82 million. Since then, BP stock has lost half its value.
It's a tiny sliver of the pension pie, to be sure, equaling only 0.1 percent of Virginia's total retirement assets. Not a huge loss, considering our pension fund is around $48 billion.
But the BP stock landslide reminds us of more than just the importance of placing one's eggs in multiple baskets. When you're looking decades into the future, strategy is way more important than stock selection, I'm told. Long-term investments can't be pummeled every which way by the news of the day.
Similar things could be said for offshore drilling in Virginia. News of the massive disaster in the gulf brought cries to abandon offshore drilling in Virginia, perhaps forever. For hard-and-fast opponents, the spill offered a flashy and effective argument against drilling. A month into the leak, President Obama declared a ban on drilling in the Atlantic.
As they should, tragedies scream at us amid all the cable news, Internet, Twitter and Facebook hubbub. But we ought to receive their message while not allowing them to push us into rash decisions.
Current headlines don't cause our retirement officials to dump BP stock into the bay. Neither should today's news derail our train towards energy solutions. It should cause us to tap on the brakes.
Paige Winfield Cunningham is an investigative reporter and managing editor at Old Dominion Watchdog. The Local Blog Network is a group of bloggers from around the D.C. region who have agreed to make regular contributions to All Opinions Are Local.
Paige Winfield Cunningham
| July 7, 2010; 7:00 PM ET
Categories: HotTopic, Local blog network, Virginia, environment
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