Congressman Says Interior Sec. Zinke May Not Be Interested In Drilling Off Virginia

Jun 6, 2018

The fight over offshore drilling is heating up.

Tuesday, Richmond-area Congressman Donald McEachin introduced legislation that would prevent exploration and drilling off the coasts of Virginia, North Carolina, Maryland and Delaware.

Virginia Beach Congressman Scott Taylor has also publicly opposed a White House proposal to allow offshore drilling. At a recent forum on the state of Virginia's waters, the Republican had even more to say.

Last year, President Trump signed an executive order for a review of oil and gas drilling in federally prohibited waters and to evaluate the status of marine sanctuaries. Rep. Scott Taylor, a former Navy SEAL who is running for reelection, told constituents last week he's friends with Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, also a former Navy SEAL, and has talked with him about drilling in Virginia.

"From his perspective Virginia doesn't really have hardly anything," Taylor told the group.

Virginia's governor as well as city councils, military installations, and fishing and tourism industries have already registered their opposition.

Rep. Scott Taylor speaking at a "State of the Water" forum held by the Virginia Eastern Shorekeeper at the Eastern Shore Community College. (May 31)
Credit Pamela D'Angelo

"In my gut, I think we're going to be fine," Taylor said. "I know a little more about that. We're going to be fine. But they're going to go through a process and it's going to take a little bit of time to go through what he needs to do."

Later, when pressed to be more specific, he dodged.

Taylor: I think we're going to be fine.

Reporter: Why do you say that?

Taylor: Maybe I've got some inside information.

Reporter: Don't you want to tell it?

Taylor: Of course not. We're going to be fine.

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