Thank You, Interior Department: Oil Drilling Off Virginia Delayed Indefinitely

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Great news, although Bob "Drill Baby Drill" McDonnell is probably not pleased right about now. What a shame.
The federal government's controversial plan to allow oil and gas drilling off Virginia's coast will be delayed, frustrating energy companies who for years have pushed for access to more offshore areas.

The delay also derails a recent request from Virginia's new governor for the U.S. Interior Department to lease the offshore tracts to oil and gas companies as scheduled and creates more uncertainty over whether the drilling plan will ever be carried out.


Lars Herbst, MMS regional director for the Gulf of Mexico, announced the delay last week at an offshore industry workshop held in Texas, according to several people who attended the event, which was not open to the press. MMS spokeswoman Eileen Angelico confirmed Herbst's comments.

Herbst said the MMS staff was still reviewing whether to hold the Virginia lease sale. But if it is cleared, the earliest the area would be leased is in 2012, before the current five-year drilling plan ends on June 30 of that year. The leasing plan could also be delayed past that date.
Oil drilling off Virginia's coast is a terrible idea -- a threat to the environment, to fishing, to Navy operations, and to tourism, without there being enough oil to even remotely make the risk worthwhile. I commend the federal government's decision to delay drilling, hopefully forever.