Environmental group praises delay on offshore drilling
Edited by Chris Graham
The U.S. Minerals Management Service announced today that it is postponing indefinitely the public-comment period and the public hearings that were scheduled in Virginia, Maryland and North Carolina in the coming weeks on the proposed sale for oil and gas drilling off Virginia’s shore.
MMS instead is investigating and will consider the causes of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico before moving forward.
The move won the praise of the Charlottesville-based Southern Environmental Law Center.
“This is an appropriate response from the federal agency that oversees our offshore resources, but the Gulf spill only confirms that MMS needs to go further and permanently bar drilling off Virginia’s shore and elsewhere in the Atlantic. Virginia and the nation has too much to lose and too little to gain from drilling,” senior attorney Deborah Murray said in a statement.
“Just one spill even a fraction of the size of the Gulf spill would devastate the wildlife, fisheries, and other ecological riches of Virginia’s coast like the Chesapeake Bay and barrier islands, and could ruin the economies and cultural heritage of coastal communities,” Murray said.
“It’s truly unfortunate that it took this tragic event to bring this issue into stark focus. We hope that our elected leaders will use this opportunity to shift the country away from dirty fossil fuels and put our ingenuity into establishing a clean, sustainable energy future,” Murray said.