A bipartisan group of Virginia lawmakers support drilling off the commonwealth’s coast for oil and gas. But not many in the state’s congressional delegation are happy with the White House announcement it’s opening up the state’s coast to offshore drilling.
The White House was prepared to allow drilling off Virginia’s coast in 2010 but then the Deepwater
The Mountain Valley Natural Gas Pipeline that’s being proposed to run through South Western Virginia made a U-Turn when it came to Floyd County. Last fall, the gas companies changed the original route, bypassing the rural county. Company officials have said the protest movement that sprang up in Floyd had nothing to do with their decision, but others believe it made a difference.
One of them is Mara Robbins, who founded the Preserve Floyd Movement last summer to fight the pipeline. Now, she’s been hired by an Environmental group to continue that work throughout the region.
Governor Terry McAuliffe has announced the state will give $1.7 million to save 14 properties -- farms, forests, wildlife habitat and historic areas rather than allow them to be developed. That adds 5,700 acres to Virginia’s conserved lands.
A bipartisan group of Virginia lawmakers say the Interior Department move to open up Virginia’s coast to drilling is raising more questions than answers.
Some proponents of drilling off Virginia’s coast are dubious. The maps of natural resources off the eastern coast haven’t been updated in three decades, and Virginia Republican Congressman Rob Wittman says he thinks energy companies are dubious of this administration’s energy policies and won’t want to invest the resources necessary.
Regulating utilities in Virginia is a complicated job, and making sense of the rules requires expertise that few voters have, so it’s no surprise that citizens hoping to stop Dominion’s Atlantic Pipeline were alarmed by a bill that would change the way gas companies recoup their investment in pipelines.