By Rob Perks, Director, Center for Advocacy Campaigns
This just in...The U.S. Department of Interior has indefinitely suspended plans for an oil and gas lease sale off the Virginia coastline!
Two days ago I blogged on this:
As a native Virginian who grew up surfing Virginia Beach and vacationing along North Carolina's nearby Outer Banks, I've long opposed coastal drilling along those placid shores. When skyrocketing gas prices a couple of summers ago led to Congress lifting restrictions on drilling in protected portions of the Outer Continental Shelf, I was shocked. Hearing the "drill, baby, drill" mantra adopted during the 2008 election infuriated me. And when elected leaders like Virginia Gov. Bob McDonald pledged to open their state's fragile coastlines to oil and natural gas development, I was bewildered. How could they not see the environmental and economic dangers? I guess the lessons of Alaska's long ago Exxon-Valdez oil spill were forgotten. I, for one, never want to see Virginia Beach's tourism-based economy threatened by spills or converted from a natural playground into a center for petro-industrial commerce.
Recall that in late March President Obama proposed opening new offshore areas to drilling and announced plans to hold by 2012 a lease sale 50 miles off the coast of Virginia, among other places. On April 29, the federal government published notice of public meetings to be followed by a scoping period through mid June as a prelude to the Virginia lease sale.
But, as quoted in The New York Timestoday, an Interior Department spokesperson says the agency is "temporarily postponing public meetings on potential offshore activities so that information from the ongoing review of OCS [Outer Continental Shelf] safety issues that the president has directed can be appropriately considered in those meetings."
Great news for Virginia's beach lovers!
Let's hope the Obama administration learns from the Gulf Coast catastrophe that drilling our fragile shores is not worth the risk to natural resources or our coastal economies that depend on a clean and healthy ocean. It's time to break our addiction to oil and other dirty fuels by passing comprehensive clean energy and climate legislation.
Drill, baby, still? No way!
Please take a moment to tell President Obama to impose a moratorium on ALL new offshore drilling.
And here's video of NRDC's Wesley Warren further explaining why drilling is not the answer to our energy needs: