Moran Stands Against Bill to Drill Off Virginia Coast

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    Moran-Connolly amendment gives final say to President, Defense Secretary

    Washington, DC – Congressman Jim Moran today took to the House floor to speak out against the “Restarting Offshore Leasing Now Act”, which would require the federal government to open the shores of Virginia to drilling and hold a number of lease sales in the Gulf of Mexico in 2011.

    “This bill is more about scoring political points and currying favor with the oil and gas industry than reducing the price of energy,” said Moran. “The proposed lease sale would interfere with U.S. Navy operations and Virginia’s commercial fishery and tourism industries. National Security and economic growth should trump lining the pockets of big oil executives.”

    Representatives Moran and Connolly offered an amendment to the “Restarting Offshore Leasing Now Act” to give the President and Secretary of Defense authority to prohibit offshore lease sales that interfere with naval and Department of Defense actions. In May 2010 the DoD stated nearly 80 percent of the drilling area proposed to be sold in Virginia, Lease Sale 220, would interfere with U.S. Navy training and operations (including Navy SEAL Team Six).

    “This bill will return us to the days of weaker regulations that existed before the BP oil spill,” Moran continued. “One year ago, BP spilled 200 million gallons of oil into the gulf coast waters. It is time we learned from these disasters.”

    The United States holds less than two percent of the world’s oil reserves and American oil production is at its highest level since 2003. In the first quarter of 2011, big oil companies saw roughly $36 billion in profits.

    To read more about Rep. Moran’s efforts to eliminate oil subsidies for big oil, visit: http://moran.house.gov/list/pr…  

    • Also, did you see McDonnell’s idiotic op-ed in the Republican Times-Disgrace today? Wow, he totally doesn’t “get it” at all. I mean, either he’s a complete ignoramus, doesn’t realize we can’t “drill our way out of it” and that the answer to beating our “oil addiction” is 99% on the demand side, or he’s just completely bought and paid for.

    • HOUSE GOP MAJORITY WILLING TO JEOPARDIZE NATIONAL SECURITY, NORFOLK NAVAL OPERATIONS, AND VIRGINIA’S ECONOMY IN OFFSHORE DRILLING BILL

      Connolly Amendment to GOP Offshore Drilling Bill Required Certification by President and Secretary of Defense that Drilling won’t Conflict with Naval Operations off Virginia

      WASHINGTON – The Republican majority in the U.S. House of Representatives put the interests of big oil companies ahead of national security and Virginia’s economy on Thursday, Congressman Gerry Connolly said.

      The House majority opposed an amendment offered by Connolly to ensure that oil drilling off Virginia’s coast would not impede numerous U.S. Navy and national security activities or threaten the $10 billion injected annually into the Commonwealth’s economy from the naval presence in Hampton Roads.

      Connolly’s amendment, supported by Virginia Congressmen Jim Moran and Bobby Scott and Maryland Congressman John Sarbanes, did not preclude oil drilling off the coast.  The amendment merely strengthened language in the GOP offshore oil drilling bill to require the President, in consultation with the Secretary of Defense, to certify that oil drilling activity in Lease Sale site 220 will not conflict with naval exercises off Virginia’s coast.

      Speaking on the House floor, Connolly highlighted a Department of Defense report that said 78 percent of the area within the Lease Sale 220 site off Hampton Roads is currently used by the Navy for a variety of military training, ordinance testing, and other activities. Those activities currently include live release and impact of air and surface missiles and bombs, sensitive undersea and surface operations, shipboard systems testing, evaluation, and qualification trials, and other critical operations.

      “We want to make sure our all-important base in Norfolk, the world’s largest naval base, can continue its vital national defense mission, as it has for more than a century, while adding tens of billions of dollars to our Virginia economy,” Connolly said.  “I was surprised that all but a handful of Republicans in the House opted to oppose this amendment, particularly since it was designed to provide nothing more than a bit of insurance to make sure national defense, the naval operations out of Hampton Roads, and Virginia’s economy are protected if offshore drilling proceeds.”

      Connolly said, “The idea that the House Republicans would reject safeguards to protect the hundreds of billions of dollars in federal investments that have been made in the Norfolk Naval Base over the last century is ludicrous.  We saw just recently that the elite Navy Seals who conducted the mission to take out Osama Bin Laden in Pakistan are based right in Hampton Roads.”

    • Jeff Barnett

      There are a potential 56 million barrels of oil off Virginia’s coast. That equals less than 3 days’ worth of US oil consumption. Drilling off Virginia’s coast has multiple environmental and economic downsides. The upsides pale in comparison. Any debate over drilling off Norfolk only obscures the much tougher but more important discussion we should be having over how to kick America’s unsustainable addiction to fossil fuels.