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McDonnell: Gulf oil well accident will not delay drilling in Virginia

Anita Kumar

Gov. Bob McDonnell said this morning that the fatal oil well accident off Louisiana's coast was a "catastrophic event," but it will not deter him from trying to make Virginia the first state on the East Coast to begin drilling for oil and natural gas.

"This is certainly a setback, but I certainly continue to be dedicated to making us first to drill, 2012 at the latest, and over the next couple years these safety and environmental issues will be addressed,'' McDonnell said on his monthly radio show on WRVA.

President Obama announced last month that companies could start bidding on contracts to conduct exploratory drilling in Virginia's waters in late 2011 or early 2012.

"Obviously what happened in Louisiana is a setback,'' McDonnell said. "For most of the last 30 years, they have been able to do it in a safe and an environmentally friendly way and that's why the moratorium was lifted by the president and Congress two years ago."

The April 20 exploratory well explosion and fire left 11 workers missing and presumed dead.

"Any of these mineral extractions are inherently dangerous,'' McDonnell said. "We had a coal mine disaster a couple weeks ago. We had this. There are issues with nuclear power. We have to endeavor to make it safe, to make it better. But you know every time there is a airplane crash, we don't say we don't fly any airplane anymore, we find ways to improve airplane safety we make it better and contain environment impact."

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By Anita Kumar  |  April 29, 2010; 11:05 AM ET
Categories:  Anita Kumar , Robert F. McDonnell  | Tags: Bob McDonnell, Virginia  
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This is a horrible idea, and last week's disaster in La. has brought that home. Why can't our public officials look at the long term and realize that our money should be spent in developing renewable energy? The destruction of our shorelines and the damage to Virginia's tourist trade (already established, as the reality of oil is not) is NOT worth it. Why do we continue to accept this obscene pairing of government and big oil? Every Virginia citizen should be protesting--write, e-mail, call, gather and protest, and if they try to go ahead with drilling, crowd the beaches with protesters.

Posted by: jaec47 | April 29, 2010 12:54 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: member8 | April 29, 2010 1:04 PM | Report abuse

The crazy thing is that all the money from off shore drilling goes to the federal goverment. There is no real economic benefit for Virginia - and PLENTY of economic risk!

Posted by: Chris_inMountVernon | April 29, 2010 1:09 PM | Report abuse

This is an Oil disaster that could have been prevented:

Oil companies fought and won against regulation requiring them to use remote controlled Underwater Shut off Valves. This is what happens when private industry is allowed to write the regulations that regulate it. Norway and Brazil have remote switches to activate shut off valves on the seafloor. BP and other oil industry members drilling under American regulations fought to keep this critical last resort safety device from being required because of the added cost.

The Coal and Oil industries are stifling the creation of American Jobs and the deployment of American Innovation, Efficiency and Technology. The true costs for Coal and Oil are currently being paid by Health, Environmental and Military expenditures as well as limiting new Job creation and the multitude of benefits to our Economy and National Security that comes with that.

The true costs for energy include the Hundreds of Billions spent in these areas, as well as the lives of soldiers in the field, and casualties in VA hospitals. I and others have served our country with blood and if you make military service mandatory I'm sure you will see a warlike effort to make ourselves Energy Independent.

We need to fund efficiency and energy replacement technologies that reduce our dependence on Oil and Coal. We can have Biofuels created from Domestic Cellulosic Ethanol and Electric/Hybrid sources powered by Wind, Solar, Biomass, Static Fuel Cell, Natural Gas, Nuclear, Hydro, Geothermal, etc., while creating domestic Jobs for a wide spectrum of fields from Farmers to Technology Innovators.

BP should pay for all damages including loss of Commercial Fishing plus a $500 Billion dollar Penalty to fund Oil Replacement Technologies. Oil companies should be required to install remote Shut Off Valves on all Seabed drilling operations.

Posted by: liveride | April 29, 2010 1:43 PM | Report abuse

McDonnell statement that "Any of these mineral extractions are inherently dangerous" boils down to his acceptance that the disaster in the Gulf could happen off the coast of Virginia, but it's still "Drill, Baby, Drill".

If McDonnell has his way, Virginia one day could call itself, "The Tarball State".

Posted by: Ogguls | April 29, 2010 1:56 PM | Report abuse

Of course he is, because we never learn. Also, he'll be long gone when it's done. Apologise to the people of the Tidewater area now, before you scurry off in four years.

Posted by: jckdoors | April 29, 2010 1:56 PM | Report abuse

spill baby, spill!

McDonnell isn't just making virginia an awful place to live while he is governor; He's making sure Virginia's beachs and coastal areas are spoilt for many generations to come.

Posted by: MarilynManson | April 29, 2010 2:03 PM | Report abuse

That's because he's an idiot. Only idiots watch someone burn themselves on the stove and think, "Yeah, but it won't burn me."

Posted by: NancyNaive | April 29, 2010 3:44 PM | Report abuse

Isn't one of the definitions of insanity "repeating the same behavior over & over again, expecting a different outcome"?

Posted by: ms1234 | April 29, 2010 4:53 PM | Report abuse

The Chickens have come home to roost for the Gulf coast and GOP Drill-Baby-Drill crowd. You leveraged yuor future on Oil lease Royalties instead of education and technology for broad based employment and success. Now you can use the Oil royalties received over the years to clean up what was once God given Pristine Beaches and breeding grounds for Shrimp and Oysters. We Told You So just doesn't seem like enough.

The first few days of this spill the Oil companies, Republican Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, and GOP allies said it was nothing, don't worry about it. We all knew different so don't Whine and Cry now. Man up to BP and Oil Industry lack of Safety Practices, and GOP lack of support for safety regulations that caused this. This is a GOP and Oil Industry made Disaster. Stop Crying and Whining for your Mama and face the reality that veterans who served in the Middle East already know: that we must develop alternatives to Oil and Coal and Create Jobs in other Industries.

Right now, Alabama Senator Shelby and other GOP leaders are stalling Energy Legislation that will fund our Alternatives and Free us from Oil and Coal Dependence. Call them now and tell them to stop Stalling. Our Beaches, Industries, Military, Environment and Health cannot afford Waiting and Stalling on the most important JOBS and Energy Independence Legislation we need NOW.

BP and the Oil Industry should pay for the full cost for Cleanup of the Gulf Oil Spill environmental disaster; For the Jobs in Tourism and Commercial Fishing lost; For Military, Coast Guard, Homeland Security, FEMA support; plus a $500 Billion dollar Negligence Penalty to fund Oil Replacement Technologies. Cutting corners and creating disasters like this should have a devastating effect on the companies responsible and not just the local economies and resources. The Taxpayer should not be bailing out Oil Companies.

Oil companies should be required to install remote Shut Off Valves on all Seabed drilling operations and drill Secondary Relief wells. So far they have fought against these requirements which are common in Canada, Norway and Brazil.
All Clean up costs and lost revenue expenses plus $500 Billion for Negligence is the least we should Mandate.

Posted by: liveride | May 1, 2010 5:08 PM | Report abuse

Virginia is for oilslicks.

Bye bye Virginia Beach.

Posted by: solsticebelle | May 2, 2010 10:06 AM | Report abuse

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