NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (WAVY) — At a campaign rally in Newport News, President Donald Trump announced he would be extending a moratorium on offshore oil and gas drilling off the coasts of Virginia and North Carolina.
The move comes after Trump extended and expanded the ban on new offshore drilling sites off the Florida coast as well as Georgia and South Carolina, earlier in the month.
In 2018, the Trump Administration proposed a program to open more than 90 percent of the Outer Continental Shelf to oil and gas leasing.
This week, Virginia’s federal lawmakers from the Democratic party — including Sens. Mark Warner and Tim Kaine and Reps. Elaine Luria (VA-2), Bobby Scott (VA-3) and Donald McEachin (VA-4) — asked for the president to include the commonwealth in the ban as well.
“In Virginia, more than 20 communities have officially voiced their opposition to offshore drilling, including the Commonwealth’s most populous cities, Virginia Beach and Norfolk,” the lawmakers wrote. “Offshore oil and gas drilling threatens the Commonwealth’s economy, natural resources, and military assets.”
While talking about his perceived accomplishments on improving the country’s environmental quality, Trump said he gave them what they asked for.
“About a month a go, I signed an order prohibiting offshore drilling off the Florida, Georgia and South Carolina coasts — because I happen to like this state a lot, I said ‘What about Virginia, what about North Carolina?’ Somebody said ‘I don’t know if they’ll like it’ and I said ‘I know they’d like it,'” Trump said. “So I am extending the moratorium for North Carolina and Virginia. If you want oil rigs out there, just let me know, I’ll take it off. I can understand that too.”
Trump did not mention how long the moratorium would be extended for. The lawmakers had asked for 2032.
CORRECTION: On WAVY News 10 at 11 p.m., an incorrect date was given for the moratorium extension. WAVY-TV apologizes for the error.