Offshore Drilling Ruling a Blow to Virginia, Others

virginia coastThe News & Advance | March 20, 2016 | Editorial Board

The decision last week by the Obama administration to bar the Continental Shelf off the coastlines of Virginia, Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina from offshore oil and natural gas exploration is a blow, both politically and economically, to the four states, but none more so than the commonwealth.

When Interior Secretary Sally Jewell announced her decision Tuesday, she cited objections from the Department of Defense as one of the main reasons undergirding her decision against awarding exploration and drilling leases starting in 2017. The Pentagon, she said, had raised the fear that large-scale offshore drilling could interfere with the U.S. Navy’s live training exercises systems testing conducted from the Navy’s base in Norfolk.

That certainly caught Gov. Terry McAuliffe and U.S. Sens. Mark Warner and Tim Kaine, all Democrats, a bit off-guard as the Pentagon, along with NASA, had kept a low profile over the course of the past three years while the federal government studied the possibility of offshore drilling.

Kaine, the ranking Democratic member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, sounded more than a little miffed at the role the Pentagon played in Jewell’s decision. “The DOD has been relatively quiet during this public debate and has never shared their objections with me before,” Virginia’s junior senator said in a statement.

Read the full editorial here.