President puts hold on oil exploration off Virginia coast
The U.S. House approved a proposal Thursday to grant leases for gas and oil exploration and drilling off Virginia’s coast.
The amendment was tucked in a larger energy production bill.
If the bill passes the Senate, according to the Virginian-Pilot, it could still be vetoed by President Obama, who called off plans last year to drill the Outer Continental Shelf off Virginia after the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
U.S. Rep. Scott Rigell, a Republican from Virginia Beach, successfully added this amendment to the overall House energy bill, which would require the Department of the Interior to include Virginia in its 2012-2017 lease sales.
"This is a jobs-creating amendment. It reflects the wisdom and the will of the good folks of Virginia," Rigell said on the House floor. "We can do this in an environmentally responsible way."
* Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley has been in New York, attending fundraising events, appearing on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” and watching the fallot of the stalled casino plan from afar.
According to the Washington Post, state leaders couldn't reach an agreement on gambling for the new proposed site in Prince George's County and a work group set up by O’Malley officially announced Wednesday that it could not reach a consensus on the plan.
* Romney released a new television ad today called “First 100 Days: Virginia.” The ad asks what President Romney’s first 100 days would mean for Virginia.
“Day One, President Romney moves to repeal Obamacare and attacks the deficit, starting with $20 billion in savings.”
“By Day 100, President Romney reverses Obama’s offshore drilling ban, creating thousands of new jobs for Virginians.”
* The UVA board said it would meet next week to reconsider the resignation of President Teresa Sullivan.
But according to the RTD, Rector Helen Dragas isn’t showing any signs of backing down and issued a statement Thursday saying that she intended to provide a “fuller explanation of the board’s thinking for collectively taking the action that we did.”
“In my view, we did the right thing, the wrong way,” Dragas said.
* D.C. Councilmember David Catania said Thursday that he’s willing to introduce legislation to recoup $1.8 million in city funds that the contractor which operates the city’s J.B. Johnson nursing home used to settle a dispute with the federal Department of Labor, according to Loose Lips.
The labor department found last year that the contractor, VMT Long Term Care, underpaid 600 workers. The company agreed to pay the $1.7 million owed to employees and $140,000 in taxes, but used city money designated for nursing home operating costs to pay.
Now the disagreement between the council and VMT stems from whether those payments constituted as operating costs or if the contractor should have covered the back pay from its own pocket.
* Gov. McDonnell’s new transportation bank issued its first loan to private developers this week -- the bank’s first investment in Northern Virginia, according to the Washington Examiner.
The bank, which was part of McDonnell's $4 billion transportation package, gave an $80 million loan to Loudoun County developers to extend Gloucester Parkway and Pacific Boulevard over Broad Run in an attempt to alleviate traffic on Route 7 and Waxpool Road.