Three chances to speak out against drilling Virginia

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    ( – promoted by Blue Virginia)

    There is still bad news coming from Louisiana. The oil rig that exploded, sank and presumed to have cost 11 lives is still leaking about 42,000 gallons of oil per day. The growing oil slick, currently the size of Hong Kong, is now 50 miles off the coast of Louisiana, potentially threatening fragile coastal wetlands, fisheries, shrimp nurseries and other marine life such as sea turtles. “This is a very serious spill, absolutely,” says the Coast Guard’s Rear Admiral Mary Landry.

    Yet as quoted in yesterday’s Richmond Times-Dispatch, Governor McDonnell said “the sinking of an oil platform in the Gulf of Mexico after an explosion did not shake his faith in drilling for oil and natural gas off the coast of Virginia, which he hopes will begin as early as 2012.”

    Our Virginia policy makers recklessly have chosen to completely ignore the huge risks drilling off Virginia’s coast poses to our highly lucrative tourism, recreation and fishing industries. Now more than ever it is up to us Virginians, who treasure our clean beaches and healthy ocean waters, to stand up, speak out and fight hard for their protection.

    Below the fold are three opportunities for Virginians to speak out against Virginia offshore drilling. ACT NOW!

    TAKE ACTION: Three opportunities to speak out against drilling Virginia!

    Opportunity #1:

    The Federal Mineral Management Service (MMS) has proposed conducting seismic exploration in the Atlantic ocean.  The environmental risks associated with seismic surveys and ultimately with drilling for oil and gas in the Atlantic vastly outweigh any potential benefits.  Tell MMS to keep airguns out of sensitive areas to include the treasured landscapes existent off Virginia’s coast.  

    Failing that, MMS must otherwise promote use of greener alternatives to airguns.  There are technologies that can be available for commercial use within 3 to 5 years that would substantially cut the environmental footprint of airguns.

     WHAT:  MMS Public Hearing on Seismic Exploration of Atlantic

     WHEN:  Thurs., April 29, 2010, 1:00pm and 7:00pm (dinner break in between)

     WHERE: Hilton Norfolk Airport, 1500 N. Military Highway, Norfolk

    Click here for talking points and to let me know if you can attend and/or speak.

    Can’t make it to Norfolk on April 29th?  Email your comments directly to MMS (GGEIS@mms.gov). Public comments close May 17, 2010.

    Opportunity #2:

    Our beloved clean Virginia beaches and healthy ocean waters are the backbone of our coastal economy, generating billions of dollars in revenues from tourism, recreation and commercial fishing. One spill, even a fraction the size of that which recently occurred in Louisiana waters, as well as the heavy industrial development onshore that accompanies offshore oil and gas drilling, would devastate our coastal economy.

    In the mid-Atlantic, the annual value of tourism, recreation and fishing exceeds the estimated annual value of oil and gas derived in our area by a ratio of almost 4 to 1.  Meanwhile, these coastal dependent businesses completely rely on clean beaches and healthy ocean waters.  To preserve these sustainable activities and the economic value these activities produce, we must keep the dirty, risky nonrenewable activities like oil and gas drilling out.

    Additionally, Virginia must not be considered for continued enrollment in the 2007-2012 drilling program. Not only has Secretary Salazar stated that the impacts of Atlantic drilling is “30 years out of date”, but the fact that MMS is only just now proposing seismic studies adds to the “unknowns” that prevent responsible decision-making.

    Click here to TAKE ACTION today. Tell MMS to that drilling Virginia is too risky, the benefits too negligible.  You can also email your comments directly to MMS (PRPcomments@mms.gov). Public comments close May 3, 2010.

    Opportunity #3:

    Join Sierra Club & Surfrider Foundation for HANDS ACROSS THE SAND Saturday June 26, 2010 in Virginia Beach, VA.  People of all walks of life are coming together to draw a human line in the sand, coming together to lock Hands Across the Sand in protest to offshore drilling.

    This movement is not about politics; it is about protection of our shoreline, our waterways, our tourism, our coastal military missions and our valuable properties. Hands Across The Sand started in Florida earlier this year as over 10,000 Floridians locked hands over 75 beaches in protest to drilling.

    The movement comes to Virginia Beach, Sat., June 26, 2010!  Click here to sign up!

    If your organization would like to sign on as a partner, please contact me at eileen.levandoski@sierraclub.org. Corporate sponsorship opportunities are also available.  

    • kindler

      Oops — so sorry about the typo…you know what I meant…