Lawmakers to Zinke: No Offshore Drilling for Virginia

Mar 15, 2018

Credit tsuda / Flickr

Leaders in the Trump administration are hearing from Virginia about opposition to offshore drilling.

Since the Trump administration announced it would allow new offshore oil and gas drilling along the Eastern Seaboard, governors up and down the coast have been demanding that their states be removed from the offshore leasing program. During a congressional hearing this week, Democratic Congressman Donald McEeachin pressed Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke on the issue.

“Why has Virginia not received the same consideration that you’ve offered other coastal states, particularly Florida?”

Zinke responded that he heard from every member of the Florida delegation and the governor there asked for an immediate meeting, plus he says there’s already an existing moratorium for Florida. As far as the other states on the Eastern Seaboard…

“I can tell you most of the congressional districts on the coast are opposed to it with a few exceptions. The governors on the East Coast other than Maine and Georgia is on the fence. On the East Coast, the governors are opposed.”

Unlike former Governor Terry McAuliffe, Virginia’s new governor, Ralph Northam, is opposed to drilling off Virginia’s coast. He sent Zinke a letter outlining his opposition back in January, and since that time Northam has talked on the phone with the secretary and met with him to personally ask the secretary to exclude Virginia from offshore drilling. So far, that hasn’t happened.

This report, provided by Virginia Public Radio, was made possible with support from the Virginia Education Association.