McDonnell and Salazar talk about wind energy, offshore drilling
Gov. Bob McDonnell and other Atlantic Coast governors are meeting with U.S. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar to talk about wind energy this afternoon.
But McDonnell told us in an interview today that he hopes to have a minute alone with Salazar to talk about the possibility of drilling for oil and natural gas off the coast of Virginia.
McDonnell has urged Salazar in a letter to allow for the exploration of oil and gas off Virginia's coast and to avoid any further delay in the lease, now scheduled for 2011.
"The lease-sale planned for 2011 is right in his office and it will be up to he and his agency to evaluate those petitions and determine whether that lease-sale goes forward in 2011,'' he said. "
U.S. Sens. Jim Webb and Mark Warner, both Democrats, and Republican members of the Virginia's U.S. House delegation have also written letters in support.
"I feel like we have a good head of steam with our Virginia congressional delegation -- broad, bipartisan support for this and the fact that they are communicating this to Secretary Salazar and want Virginia to be first in the country for Atlantic Coast research and exploration in drilling is a tremendous help to me,'' he said.
McDonnell's letter came months after then Gov. Timothy M. Kaine (D) sent his own letter to Salazar asking for a delay in drilling off the Virginia coast.
The 25-year-old federal moratorium on energy exploration and development off the coast of Virginia expired last year.
The Minerals Management Service, part of the Interior Department, included Virginia in its five-year plan and began soliciting companies to drill off the coast in 2011. It is the only state on the East Coast included in the plan. But Salazar halted the process to review the plan and get input from the public.
McDonnell also will meet with the Chinese ambassador today to discuss economic development opportunities for Virginia. (Remember, McDonnell wants to open a trade office in China). He will stop by an event for Minnesota governor and possible presidential hopeful Tim Pawlenty tonight before heading back to Richmond.
February 19, 2010; 2:55 PM ET
Categories: Anita Kumar , Barack Obama , Robert F. McDonnell
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