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McDonnell Asks Rivals to Support Drilling

Anita Kumar

Former Attorney General Robert F. McDonnell called on his three rivals for governor to join him in writing a letter to U.S. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar to ask for the exploration of Virginia's offshore energy resources.

The decision comes after Gov. Timothy M. Kaine (D) sent a letter to Salazar asking for a delay in developing energy resources off the Virginia coast.

The 25-year-old federal moratorium on energy exploration and development off the coast of Virginia expired last year. The leasing of rights off the coast is scheduled for 2011.

McDonnell, the Republican nominee for governor, said drilling will create thousands of jobs and produce hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue. A delay, he said, would eliminate Virginia's ability to start drilling before other Atlantic states.

"I urge the Democratic candidates for governor to put aside their pandering to special interests and do what's right for Virginia families,'' McDonnell said. "Democrats need to stop saying no to new jobs and revenue for Virginia."

In a letter responding to McDonnell, Democratic gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe said he was disappointed. "I agree that we have a unique opportunity to create new jobs here in Virginia, but I believe that the opportunity lies in investment in renewable energy and growing our green jobs sector,'' he wrote. "If we want to grow our economy and create good jobs here in the Commonwealth, we must focus more on bipartisanship and less on ideology."

Mame Reiley, chairwoman of former delegate Brian Moran's campaign, said Moran is "the only candidate for governor to stand squarely against drilling off our coast because he believes 21st century energy solutions aren't found in 19th century fossil fuels." She said Moran has introduced a comprehensive plan that will create tens of thousands of new jobs in Virginia and protect the environment. "It's the right plan for our environment and for our economy, and it is the right plan for Virginia," she said.

Brooke Borkenhagen, a spokeswoman for Sen. R. Creigh Deeds, called McDonnell's letter a political stunt. "Creigh is fighting right now in Richmond to create jobs by investing in alternative and renewable energy, which will put Virginia on the cutting-edge of job creation,'' she said. "We need to protect the middle class by providing the jobs not just for tomorrow, but for the next 100 years.",

By Anita Kumar  |  February 27, 2009; 12:37 PM ET
Categories:  2009 Governor's Race , Anita Kumar , Brian J. Moran , Creigh Deeds , Election 2009 , Robert F. McDonnell , Terry McAuliffe  
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Comments

Big Oil's friends bend over backwards to avoid the word "drilling," don't they? Quite a list of euphemisms they've come up with -- "development," "exploration," etc. Anything to avoid calling it what it really is.

Posted by: TheGreenMiles | February 27, 2009 1:20 PM | Report abuse

Hey McDonnell! Don't you get it yet?? The American Public *overwhelmingly elected* Obama because we want change. Part of this change is the development of alternative energy sources and the creation of middle-class jobs it will bring. Didn't you notice that in his proposed budget President Obama has followed through on this promise (and just about all other promises -- GASP!).

Oh that's right. You, an old school Republican, can't accept the fact that President Obama's plan doesn't do enough to help the rich!

Posted by: Rich393 | February 27, 2009 2:41 PM | Report abuse

This is a good issue for McDonnell. The majority of Virginians do support offshore drilling; granted, this poll is from API and from last July: "61 percent say they want to see development of our resources in off-limits federal waters. A full 70 percent of Virginians in a July poll supported increased offshore development." Are there other polls out there re: Virginians and offshore drilling?

Sen. Warner is on the record supporting both offshore oil and gas drilling, and Sen. Webb supports offshore gas drilling.

Posted by: ChrisD4 | March 3, 2009 9:04 AM | Report abuse

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