Opinion – Virginia Outer Continental Shelf Energy Production Act of 2011

Bill would risk coastal tourism and human health for just three weeks worth of U.S. oil demand

Clarke Daily News - Opinion & Editorial

Conservation groups across Virginia are deeply disappointed by the harmful coastal drilling legislation introduced today by Virginia Senators James Webb and Mark Warner. The Virginia Outer Continental Shelf Energy Production Act of 2011 could lead to dangerous oil drilling just a few miles off the coast of Virginia Beach and other fragile coastal communities as soon as 2012.


“On behalf of our 30,000 supporters across Virginia, CCAN strongly opposes the offshore drilling bill introduced today by Senators Webb and Warner. At best, there may be three weeks worth of U.S. oil off the coast of Virginia at current consumption rates. Why risk damage to the state’s $19 billion tourism industry and critical fishing industry over just three weeks worth of oil? As the Deepwater Horizon spill demonstrated in Louisiana, all it takes is one platform disaster to affect millions of people and destroy thousands of jobs. For a modern solution to our energy woes, Virginia should develop offshore wind power, not oil. Using modern wind turbines of the sort already deployed at 45 offshore wind sites in Europe, Virginia could harness wind power off its own coastline sufficient to power at least 750,000 homes – forever. This same amount of energy could power 3.4 million electric cars, moving vehicles at the astonishing cost equivalent of about $1.30 per gallon! That’s real pump relief. And wind power helps solve the climate change crisis that is triggering sea-level rise worldwide and creating disastrous potential impacts for all of coastal Virginia. Offshore oil drilling in Virginia will create few jobs, fail to lower gas prices, endanger coastal tourism, and accelerate the crisis of climate change. Congress should reject this dangerous legislation introduced by Senators Webb and Warner and turn its attention to wind power instead.”

Jamie Nolan
Communications Director
Chesapeake Climate Action Network