Press Release | May 5, 2011

Statement on US House Vote to Open Virginia to Offshore Drilling (HR1230)

The House of Representatives voted today to pass HR1230 which would, among other things, compel the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management Regulation and Enforcement to offer leases for drilling offshore of Virginia within a year of final passage of the bill. The Southern Environmental Law Center is vigorously opposed to this move, which would put Virginia’s tourism and fishing economies in peril for a mere six days’ supply of oil, according to the latest government estimates.

Read SELC’s short fact sheet (pdf) on the issue.

Following is a statement from Nat Mund:

“This vote ignores utterly the lessons of the Deepwater Horizon disaster that we need a much more careful approach to offshore drilling, and not rush headlong to open up areas for drilling simply to gain political points.

“Experts in industry, academia and government all understand that the rise in gas prices is tied to the world market and that we can’t drill our way out of it.

“We agree with Governor McDonnell that America needs to increase its domestic source of energy – but we strongly disagree that that should entail putting our coastal communities, fishing and tourism business at risk. We have to keep our eye on the proven, clean sources such as efficiency, wind, solar and other alternatives to fossil fuels.

“In addition, we need to do much more in Virginia and beyond to provide efficient transportation choices that can reduce our gas bills and our dependence on oil.”

Press Contacts

Nat Mund

Director, Washington D.C. Office and Federal Affairs

Phone: 202-828-8382