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Environmental groups call for permanent ban to drilling off Virginia coast

Anita Kumar

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.

By Anita Kumar  |  August 12, 2010; 2:30 PM ET
Categories:  Anita Kumar , Robert F. McDonnell  
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McDonnell won't be around to be held accountable, so of course he'll support drilling.

Posted by: jckdoors | August 12, 2010 3:27 PM | Report abuse

People who are Anti-Oil are kidding themselves if they think they can keep a reserve of oil untapped. Thats like telling somebody they have a million dollars buried under their front yard, but can't dig up the grass because the worms might be injured.

Puh Lez.... So long as oil commands a price in the marketplace, oil reserves will be tapped. What the Enviro-Nazis should be doing is spending their money on R&D of new technology to replaced oil. If you find an eco-friendly replacement for oil, your dreams of stopping offshore drilling might come true. Otherwise, its just a pipe dream.

Oh, and wait until the world's supply of oil begins to dwindle. That's when you'll see even more drilling. Try telling a Congressman to vote no on drilling, when his voters are crying about $20/Gasoline because the oil supplies are running out. lol

Posted by: AlbyVA | August 12, 2010 4:32 PM | Report abuse

AlbyVA writes: "Try telling a Congressman to vote no on drilling, when his voters are crying about $20/Gasoline because the oil supplies are running out."

It's too bad that the issue has become so politicized--no one wants oil spills and no one likes our oil dependency. We don't have to get stuck with your scenario if we're smart.

$20/g gasoline won't happen if we shift subsidies from the fossil fuel industry to developing alternative fuels and energy efficiencies.

Long before gasoline hits $20, the economy can gradually shift to alternatives and efficiencies that don't require toxic oil waste in our water and on our beaches.

A study by Bloomberg shows fossil fuel subsidies are 12 times the support for renewables.


Posted by: saunded | August 13, 2010 1:51 PM | Report abuse

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