Virginia Removed from Federal 5-year Offshore Drilling Plan

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.