WASHINGTON, DC (WAVY) – Senator Tim Kaine (D-Virginia) wants to keep offshore drilling away from Virginia’s coast, and he’s getting some bipartisan support.
Last week, the Interior Department announced a plan to expand offshore oil exploration along the the Atlantic, Pacific and Arctic Coasts. On Monday, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke announced that Florida would be excluded from the proposal, and Kaine wants a similar exemption for Virginia.
Rep. Scott Taylor (R- Virginia Beach) also opposes setting up drilling platforms off of Hampton Roads. Both Kaine and Taylor say the rigs would interfere with naval operations, and would be detrimental to tourism and area watermen.
“I’ve got to listen to my people,” Taylor said by phone Wednesday regarding constituents in his 2nd District. It extends from Virginia Beach’s Oceanfront area to the Eastern Shore.
Kaine says offshore drilling would also detract from a key presence on the Eastern Shore, NASA. The space agency launches rockets from its Wallops Island facility near the Maryland line.
“As the pieces of the rockets fall into the ocean, they’re not damaging infrastructure. (If oil platforms were built) that could lead to a big lawsuit.”
Kaine wants to get as much of Virginia’s congressional delegation to oppose oil exploration in Virginia waters. Rep. Rob Wittman (R-Montross) will not be getting on board.
Wittman supports the proposal to drill off Virginia’s shores, and gave us this statement:
“I applaud the administration’s proposal to include expanded energy exploration in the Atlantic. Responsible offshore energy exploration and production would support economic growth and further our national security, while safeguarding the environment for future generations. Virginia is well positioned to take advantage of offshore energy development with the port of Hampton Roads and its proximity to the ocean, skilled workforce, and maritime industries. I look forward to seeing this plan move forward with the necessary input and cooperation from the Department of Defense, Commonwealth, community and stakeholders.”