Home Energy and Environment Great News if You Care About Protecting Virginia’s Coast, Stopping Runaway Climate...

Great News if You Care About Protecting Virginia’s Coast, Stopping Runaway Climate Chaos


The following statements from Rep. Gerry Connolly and Lt. Governor Ralph Northam both praise Interior Secretary Sally Jewell’s announcement this morning that the Atlantic Coast will NOT be included in its 2017-2022 offshore drilling lease plan. That’s great news for anyone who cares about Virginia’s coast, about the environment in general, and specifically about stopping runaway climate chaos caused by human combustion of fossil fuels. And yes, that includes natural gas, not just oil and coal, because in no way/shape/form is natural gas a “clean” fuel, despite the Big Lie propaganda you see on the sides of gas-powered buses, etc. Anyway, I just hope that this 5-year moratorium is extended indefinitely, preferably by a law passed by Congress after Democrats take back the House and Senate this November. 🙂

P.S. The image is courtesy of Environment Virginia; thanks to them for all their great work!

WASHINGTON – Congressman Gerry Connolly (D-VA) released the following statement today on the Department of Interior’s decision to remove the Atlantic Coast from in its 2017-2022 offshore leasing plan:

Today’s decision by the Department of Interior to remove the Atlantic Coast from its 2017-2022 offshore drilling lease plan is a responsible and important victory for all Virginians.

I’ve repeatedly made the case that drilling off Virginia’s coast poses significant and irreversible consequences to Virginia’s economy, jeopardizes the Defense Department’s presence in the region, and threatens our coastal communities and natural resources.  More troubling, the flawed draft proposal asked Virginians to bear all that risk for less than a few months of national oil and gas supply.

I appreciate Secretary Jewell’s acknowledgment of these very clear concerns, especially those shared by the Department of Defense, and her willingness to now exclude the Atlantic Coast from  future drilling activities.

In February 2015, Connolly led a letter with Virginia Reps. Bobby Scott and Don Beyer, urging Secretary Jewell to reconsider plans drill off Virginia’s coast. That letter can be found here. In March 2015, he penned an Oped in the Washington Post “Offshore drilling is too risky”

Lieutenant Governor Northam’s Statement on Bureau of Energy Management’s Decision to Avoid Offshore Drilling on Virginia’s Coast

RICHMOND – Lieutenant Governor Ralph Northam released the following statement today on the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management’s decision to exclude Virginia from its revised 2017-2022 offshore oil and gas leasing program:

“I want to thank the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management and President Obama’s administration for hearing concerns about offshore drilling from leaders here in Virginia.

Over the years, military officials, environmental activists and small business owners have warned of the potential impact of oil exploration off Virginia’s coast. 40 percent of Hampton Roads’ economy is tied to defense-related activities. Tourism and aquaculture generate billions of dollars for the Commonwealth. We cannot afford to jeopardize these important industries that are all tied to the health of our coastal waters.

Today’s announcement is a win for Virginians. I look forward to continuing to work with federal and state officials as well as community leaders to sustain a healthy and prosperous Virginia that brings good-paying jobs to our communities.”

Lt. Governor Northam submitted a letter to the director of the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management last month expressing his concerns with the previous version of the plan.

UPDATE: I agree strongly with this statement by CREDO. There’s simply no place for any new fossil fuel development; at this point, we need to shut it down as quickly as possible and move 100% to clean energy — or we are totally f’ed.

“President Obama has spared the people of the Atlantic coast from another oil catastrophe, but in allowing new drilling in the Gulf and Arctic, he’s keeping all of us on course for climate catastrophe,” said CREDO Climate Campaigns Director Elijah Zarlin. “Any new offshore drilling is incompatible with a stable future and it is incompatible with the commitments that President Obama has made,” continued Zarlin. “There is no excuse for any new offshore drilling and it is long past time for President Obama to draw a line to keep all oil, gas and coal on federal lands in the ground.”

  • Terry’s half right, anyway, about focusing on renewables.

    Governor McAuliffe Statement on Atlantic Oil Drilling Announcement

    RICHMOND – Governor Terry McAuliffe released the following statement today after the U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management announced that the Atlantic Coast will not be included in the next five-year oil and gas leasing program:

    “Today’s announcement is an opportunity to work with the Department of Defense to address the concerns they have raised, and to ensure that any offshore energy exploration is coupled with a revenue sharing agreement that benefits our Commonwealth. This announcement should also serve as motivation to expand and diversify Virginia’s energy economy in every sector, with a particular focus on renewables. By bringing public and private sector partners together Virginia can become a global leader in clean energy technologies and create the next generation of energy jobs along the way.”

  • Statement from CCAN:

    In Grassroots Victory, Obama Administration Protects Virginia and the Atlantic Coast from Offshore Drilling

    WASHINGTON, D.C.—The Obama administration today announced an updated draft five-year plan for oil and gas development in federal waters that would keep drilling off limits in the Atlantic, protecting coastal communities from Virginia to Georgia. This decision, a dramatic reversal from the administration’s previous plan, responds to the widespread and vocal opposition of more than 110 East Coast communities, more than 700 state and local elected officials, more than 1,000 business interests, and thousands of citizens.

    Advocates have underlined that any new drilling in our oceans would usher in unacceptable risks to coastal economies while worsening global warming.

    Mike Tidwell, director of the Chesapeake Climate Action Network, released the following statement in response:

    “This is a great step forward for Virginia’s coast and our climate. Thanks to the strong and sustained opposition of coastal cities, business leaders, and citizens, the Atlantic coast will remain safe from oil rigs for years to come. This decision will prevent disastrous oil spills while helping to protect our vulnerable coast from rising sea levels. As rising waters flood Virginia’s coast on a routine basis, we need to be investing 100% in clean energy, not digging an even deeper hole of pollution.

    “Lieutenant Governor Ralph Northam, the county governments on Virginia’s Eastern Shore, business and local leaders across Hampton Roads, and thousands of regular citizens deserve credit for telling the Obama administration ‘no’ to new drilling off Virginia’s coast. Thankfully, their call was heard above that of Governor McAuliffe, who stood on the wrong side of this decision. We urge Governor McAuliffe to stand up for our coast and climate now by affirming his support for President Obama’s decision.

    “Ultimately, new drilling anywhere threatens our coastlines everywhere, which is why President Obama must remove the Arctic from his next draft plan. Climate leadership requires keeping fossil fuels in the ground, period.”

  • Beyer Applauds Decision To Block Atlantic Drilling

    March 15, 2016 (Washington, DC) – Congressman Don Beyer welcomed today’s announcement from the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management and Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell to protect Atlantic states, including Virginia, from offshore drilling.

    “One of the first things I did in Congress was join my fellow Virginia Congressmen Gerry Connolly and Bobby Scott in urging Secretary Jewel to block offshore drilling in Virginia,” said Rep. Don Beyer. “I am so glad that the Administration listened to our concerns and recognized the significant threat drilling poses to our coastline. This is a victory for Virginians, for our coastal economy, and a crucial step forward to reducing America’s carbon footprint.”

    Reps. Beyer, Connolly, and Scott wrote Secretary Jewell in February of 2015 outlining the dangers from further drilling off the Virginia coast. The long-term environmental consequences of drilling dwarf any economic gains from the offshore rigs. Additionally, such drilling activity would significantly disrupt NASA and U.S. Naval operations in the area.

    The outdoor economy in Virginia’s coastal communities is heavily dependent on tourism, fishing, outdoor recreation, and other industries compromised by the dangerous growth of offshore drilling in the Atlantic.

  • Quizzical