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Posted at 4:52 PM ET, 12/ 1/2010

UPDATED: Democrat Warner opposes Obama's Va. coastal drilling ban

By Anita Kumar
Anita Kumar

Democratic Sen. Mark Warner said Wednesday that he agrees with Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) in opposing President Obama's decision to restrict oil and gas drilling off the coast of Virginia for the next seven years.

"Mid-Atlantic coastal oil and gas production does not represent a 'silver bullet' solution to our energy challenges, and while it is appropriate to take the time to incorporate lessons learned from the Gulf disaster, Senator Warner sees no reason to delay this process for what realistically could be another seven years or more,'' Warner spokesman Kevin Hall said.

McDonnell is calling for the White House to reconsider its decision and for the Virginia congressional delegation to work toward a possible solution.

"Senator Warner will continue to work with Governor McDonnell and other state and local officials, as well as the bipartisan Virginia delegation, to explore ways to re-examine this decision," Hall said.

Obama announced in March that Virginia would become one of the first East Coast states to drill offshore for oil and natural gas. But that changed after the BP oil spill.

UPDATED: Longtime drilling opponent U.S. Rep. Jim Moran (D-Va.) has taken the opposite position from both Warner and McDonnell--siding with the administration's decision to keep its Atlantic coast drilling ban in place. Read Moran's statement after the jump.

Statement from Moran:

"I offer my praise for the new revised OCS drilling plan. It clearly reflects the lessons learned from the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill disaster and recognizes the inherent risks of drilling in environmentally restricted areas and where economic and national security interests are in conflict. The Defense Department has expressed strong reservations about drilling off Virginia's coast, finding it incompatible with military operations and readiness. With this action by the Secretary, no drilling will occur off the Mid-Atlantic and Virginia through 2017.

"The announcement confines new drilling to areas adjacent to where drilling is already established and where the new Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation, and Enforcement (BOEMRE) and the oil and gas industry should be concentrating their resources to ensure another BP disaster is avoided."

"I have long opposed drilling offshore, and included a congressional moratorium in the Interior and Environment Appropriations bill that was approved by the Interior Appropriations Subcommittee, which I chair, on July 22, 2010. I also remain concerned that drilling in the Arctic, given its severe weather conditions and remote location, will challenge the credibility of any oil spill response plan. I will continue to cast a critical eye on any new plans in the Beaufort Sea and Chukchi Sea."

"We will never achieve energy independence by drilling for more oil on land or at sea - even if we open up every restricted area to drilling. To pursue such a reckless policy only advances the day we exhaust our limited reserves and undermines our effort to transition to cleaner and more sustainable alternative sources of energy."

By Anita Kumar  | December 1, 2010; 4:52 PM ET
Categories:  Anita Kumar, Mark Warner, Robert F. McDonnell  
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Comments

Thank you President Obama for protecting our coastal waters. As for McDonnell and Warner's opposition to the decision, remember that along with "drill here, drill now," ABC privatization was also one of McDonnell's campaign promises that turned out to be misleading and unworkable. Virginia would not receive revenues from drilling in federally owned waters.

Posted by: franko2 | December 1, 2010 5:51 PM | Report abuse

Jim Moran is an anti-Virginia partisan hack. Sadly, he represents the state he is so gleefully snubbing.

A BP level spill is a rare event. Moran doesn't get that.

Obama claims he's for energy independence, yet does everything he can to halt it.

Posted by: kayla1025 | December 1, 2010 6:08 PM | Report abuse

I like Senator Warner, but he is wrong on offshore drilling. You want development and jobs, with no risk of a spill? Why don't he and the Governor support offshore wind development? The permitting for those projects is being fast tracked and there is plenty of infrastructure work that needs to be done there. Check the calendar, guys, we're in the 21st century, not the 19th (coal) or the 20th (oil).

Posted by: GreenRich | December 2, 2010 8:36 AM | Report abuse

What GreenRich said. ^

Posted by: dagrubb824 | December 2, 2010 2:13 PM | Report abuse

GreenRich, windmills date back to the 14th century or earlier. The contribution of wind and solar is minute to the needs of the 21st century. We have an administration that wants to RUIN this country, not protect or further its economy. Anything Obama does has to be viewed as wrong for the USA. He does what George Soros tells him to do. Nothing good can come from that.

Posted by: annnort | December 2, 2010 2:54 PM | Report abuse

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