McDonnell to Press Ahead With Offshore Drilling Plans

La. disaster changes another coastal gov's view

By Sharon Donnell
|  Friday, Apr 30, 2010  |  Updated 6:59 PM EDT
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McDonnell Still Wants Offshore Drilling

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The environmental catastrophe unfolding off the coast of Louisiana hasn’t changed Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell’s views on drilling in the waters off Virginia.

McDonnell said Thursday he will urge federal government officials to proceed with plans to drill for oil and natural gas off the coast of Virginia Beach.
 
On the monthly "Ask the Governor" program on WRVA (1140 AM) yesterday morning, the governor said: "Every time there's an airplane crash, we don't say, 'Well, we don't fly airplanes anymore.' We find ways to improve public safety, make it better and contain any environmental impact," the Richmond Times-Dispatch reported.
 
McDonnell also told reporters at the state capitol that he expects an "exhaustive" investigation will be conducted because of the oil spill and that tougher environmental safeguards will result.
 
Just three weeks ago, President Barack Obama's administration lifted a ban on drilling along the Atlantic and Gulf coastlines, including 50 miles off Virginia's coast.
 
McDonnell has pushed for offshore drilling and wants to use the revenue to help fund his transportation program.
 
Now, a top Obama adviser has said no new offshore oil drilling will be authorized until authorities learn what caused the April 20 explosion of the rig Deepwater Horizon. Eleven workers are missing and presumed dead, and an estimated 5,000 barrels of oil per day are spewing into the Gulf. 
 
The expanding oil slick has reached Louisiana’s ecologically rich -- yet fragile -- wetlands and storms are frustrating desperate efforts to clean up the massive spill and protect wildlife.
 
White House Senior Adviser David Axelrod told ABC's "Good Morning America" that "no additional drilling has been authorized and none will until we find out what has happened here."
 
Northern Virginia Congressman Jim Moran agrees with that move.
 
"Regardless of ideoplogy, this situation should give everyone pause regarding expansion of offshore drilling," he said.
 
Meanwhile, the spill has changed at least one coastal governor’s ideas on drilling. Florida Gov. Charlie Crist surveyed the oil slick this week. He called it "frightening," and backed off his support for offshore oil extraction.
 
"It's the last thing in the world I would want to see happen in our beautiful state," said Crist, adding there is no question now that lawmakers should give up on the idea of drilling 125 miles from Florida beaches. "Until you actually see it, I don't know how you can comprehend and appreciate the sheer magnitude of that thing."

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