(UPDATE: Success? – promoted by lowkell)
UPDATE: Also, see the ABC News live feed of what’s going on.
UPDATE #2: CCAN (Chesapeake Climate Action Network) has issued a statement on President Obama’s cancellation of Lease Sale 220.
The Chesapeake Climate Action Network applauds President Obama for taking the much-needed and prudent step of canceling Lease Sale 220, proposed for 50 miles off Virginia’s coast. Canceling the lease sale is an important first step towards what Virginia ultimately needs: a permanent ban on offshore oil drilling along Virginia’s coasts and a sharpened focus on promoting offshore wind and other forms of clean, safe energy.
Now is the time to develop Virginia’s clean offshore energy resource: Wind power. The commonwealth could easily get 10 percent of its electricity from offshore windmills, creating up to 10,000 jobs and enough power to run 3.6 million electric cars, with no threat of environmental or economic devastation.
Oil drilling can never be made entirely safe, and the consequences – as we now vividly see – can be catastrophic. The Hampton Roads area is home to the world’s largest Naval Station and relies heavily on tourism. An oil spill off of Virginia’s coast would be devastating not only to the environment but also to the economy. Industry and government estimates say there is untapped oil off the Virginia coast equal to just 6 to 24 days’ worth of national demand. The risks of drilling are far too great for a potential reward that is far too small.
Governor Bob McDonnell wants to make Virginia the energy capital of the East Coast. We agree. Instead of recklessly drilling for oil, Virginia should lead the nation in offshore wind power. Virginians want windmills, not oil spills.
UPDATE #3: The Virginia Chapter of the Sierra Club has issued a statement. I’ve posted it after the “flip.”
UPDATE #4: Environment Virginia has a statement as well, after the “flip.”
From the Sierra Club
The economic and environmental disaster that is currently unfolding on the Gulf Coast underscores the inherent and unavoidable risks that would come with drilling off Virginia’s coast – risks that have been well known for many years. It’s unfortunate that it took a disaster such as this to finally bring to light just how mistaken it would be to drill off Virginia’s coast.
Coupled with the recent Department of Defense report warning that Lease Sale 220 would cause unacceptable interference with critically important test and training conducted off the coast of Virginia, we urge Governor McDonnell to change his focus from oil to wind and put the state’s full resources behind developing the offshore wind potential off our coast. Governor McDonnell could really make Virginia the energy capital of the east coast by pursuing clean renewable offshore wind energy and the thousands of jobs this new industry will generate.
From Environment Virginia
“Today’s announcement by the Obama administration is an enormous victory for Virginia’s coast. Sensitive coastal areas such as the Chesapeake Bay and Assateague Island, as well as the plants and animals that rely on a healthy ocean have been spared the threat of oil spills. Our thriving coastal economy, which produces more than $3 billion for the Commonwealth annually, is more secure with the cancellation of Lease Sale 220.
Environment Virginia is pleased that President Obama has realized that oil drilling continues to be a dirty and dangerous business and has decided to cancel these wrong-headed lease sales. However, our beaches will not be safe until the President permanently bans drilling off the coast of Virginia and in all coastal areas that are currently being drilled.
The BP oil spill is a stark reminder of the enormous environmental impacts of our dependence on oil. Now is the time for us to move away from the dirty fossil fuels of the past and towards a future powered by clean energy.
We know that there will be those who oppose today’s announcement, including Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell. The question remains for Governor Bob McDonnell – will he choose to lead on clean energy, or will he continue to beat the drum for his corporate allies in the oil industry.
Today is an opportunity for Virginia and the country to move away from fossil fuels. We can safely power America with the wind that blows off our shores, the sun that beams down on our rooftops and by improving our energy efficiency. Environment Virginia looks forward to working with both the Obama and McDonnell administrations to do just that.