Opposing drilling for gas and oil off our Atlantic coast is an important policy position for LRNOW.
During the 2020 legislative session, we worked with our Virginia General Assembly representative to pass landmark legislation removed support for offshore drilling from our State Code and putting restrictions on drilling infrastructure in the three miles coastal area controlled by the Commonwealth of Virginia. This is important legislation and a big step forward in our fight against offshore drilling.
Since 2017 and 2018, we have worked hard with a wide range of partners to oppose seismic testing and drilling for gas and oil off the coast of Virginia. At the end of 2016, the seismic testing permits for the Atlantic were rescinded and the lease sale withdrawn. It looked like we had prevented with potentially destructive and detrimental activity in the Atlantic Ocean. However, after Donald Trump took office in January, 2017, he opened up all of the waters off the American coast to leasing by oil companies and we began our work again to prevent this from happening.
The first comment period has long ended and we are awaiting a ruling from the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management in the Department of the Interior on whether the lease sale will proceed. There are many reasons to oppose drilling off of the Virginia coast. They inlcude:
- Seismic testing and drilling are extremely dangerous and potentially deadly to marine mammals and other ocean wildlife.
- Tourism is a major contributor to our economy in Virginia Beach and could be devastated not just by a major spill, but also by the cumulative impact of the small spills that are a part of day to day oil and gas drilling operations.
- Healthy local seafood is important to all of us and employs many who make coastal Virginia their home. Crabs, oysters, clams and commercial and sport fish are put at great risk by drilling operations.
- NASA’s activities at Wallops Island on the Eastern Shore of Virginia will be compromised by oil and gas activity in the Atlantic off the coast of Virginia.
- And lastly, the US Navy has identified most of the area off the coast of Virginia as critical to their training activities which do not mix with oil rigs and drilling operations.
For these reasons, LRNow opposes seismic testing and offshore drilling in the Atlantic Ocean. We appreciate the unwavering support of Governor Northam. We also appreciate the support of Senator Kaine, Senator Warner, Congresswoman Luria, the Mayor, Vice-Mayor and Virginia Beach City Council.
Our climate and coastline remain in danger as the current administration’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management considers selling drilling leases off the Atlantic Coast. Virginia, and our neighbors on the coast, must continue to pressure our national government to ban offshore drilling and move toward a future of renewable energy.
LRNow is a proud member organization of the Virginia Conservation Network’s Offshore Drilling Workgroup and Virginia Coastal Alliance (VACA). VACA’s amplified voice against offshore drilling was a critical element in both sharpening our message and speaking to legislators with a synchronized voice. The Alliance is working closely to rally around other important environmental issues with the same powerful single voice that was successful in the offshore drilling
campaign. Follow @VirginiaCoastalAlliance on Instagram.
Questions? Please contact Jim@lrnow.org
Member organizations of the Virginia Coastal Alliance:
Center for Biological Diversity
Croc’s 19th Street Bistro
Earth Day Network
Eco Maniac Co.
Sierra Club Virginia Chapter
Southern Environmental Law Center
Surfrider Foundation Virginia
Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center
Virginia Conservation Network (VCN)
Virginia League of Conservation Voters