The federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation, and Enforcement is holding a hearing in Dulles, Virginia to hear public
testimony today about proposed seismic testing for future oil exploration off the coast of Virginia.
The Chesapeake Climate Action Network, one of Virginia’s largest environmental groups said today that it applauds the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation, and Enforcement for removing Virginia from its five-year oil-drilling plan, but expressed continued concern that this temporary ban leaves open the possibility that oil drilling could occur off of Virginia ¹s coast as early as 2017.
In a written statement CCAN said that oil drilling is an inherently risky business. If drilling is allowed, it would be impossible to guarantee that our coastlines will remain safe from the imminent threat of an oil spill like the 2010 Deepwater Horizon spill that devastated the Gulf coast. Even this spill, thousands of miles away, reverberated back to Virginia the Commonwealth ¹s oyster industry alone lost more than $11.6 million from the disaster.
“We are testifying at today’s hearing on behalf of 5,000 of our members across Maryland, D.C., and Virginia who have submitted written comments to
us in strong opposition to oil drilling off the Virginia coast” said Jamie Nolan, Communications Director Chesapeake Climate Action Network. “It has been
estimated that Virginia only has a month’s supply of oil off its shores, making the decision not to risk our economy and our environment clear.”
The Chesapeake Climate Action Network believes that Virginia should aggressively pursue the development of offshore wind energy as an
alternative to offshore oil drilling. Research shows that there is enough harnessable wind power off the Virginia coast to provide 10 percent of the
Commonwealth’s current electricity needs while creating 10,000 jobs. The time has come for Virginia to give up on oil drilling once and for all, and
embrace wind power as its offshore energy choice.