Environmental groups call for permanent ban to drilling off Virginia coast
A pair of environmental groups and a former Navy captain Thursday called for a permanent ban to drilling off Virginia's coast following the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
Joe Bouchard, a former Navy captain and former Democratic legislator, told reporters on a conference call that offshore drilling can -- and has -- interfered with Defense Department training ranges.
He also said that an oil spill off Virginia's coast could cause "more damage than a terrorist attack on Naval forces based in Hampton Roads" and said no decision on drilling should be made until the impact of spill on the Navy is studied.
The BP spill, which leaked more than 200 million gallons of oil into the Gulf before it was contained, has resulted in 300,000 lost jobs and cost $22.7 billion, according to officials from the Sierra Club and Chesapeake Climate Action Network, who were on the call.
In May, President Obama announced that he was canceling plans for any proposed lease sales off the Virginia coast, but the state remains in the federal government's next 2012-2017 five-year offshore drilling plan.
Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) remains a strong proponent of drilling, and has repeatedly said that he hopes U.S. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar changes his mind on the moratorium once some safety modifications have been implemented.
Mike Tidwell, executive director of the Chesapeake Climate Action Network, said the state should look to develop offshore wind energy, which could power 3.6 million electric cars and 750,000 homes in Virginia.
August 12, 2010; 2:30 PM ET
Categories: Anita Kumar , Robert F. McDonnell
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