Big Oil and Big Coal came to Norfolk Virginia on Tuesday to attempt injection of their dirty energy agenda on the good citizens of Hampton Roads. And we sent them home packing!
Their numbers were slim at the two hearings where the federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management sought public comment on its draft EIS supporting seismic air gun use in exploring for oil and gas off our coast. One by one, 27 individuals stood up to support the health and welfare of our marine mammals to include especially the endangered North Atlantic right whale, less than 400 of which exist in this world.
The best Big Oil could offer was the same ol’ “it can be done in an environmentally safe way” utterances that we heard before pre-BP Gulf oil spill disaster. Almost half of their 14 speakers were electeds, representing electeds or appointees. Theirs was the political fear-mongering song-and-dance trying lamely to connect gas prices to our lack of Atlantic coast drilling, clueless to the fact that we need to rid our addiction to oil.
In the end, a good core of activists were reunited to plan another successful Hands Across the Sand event on August 4, 2012 and to again illustrate that Virginians oppose offshore drilling. So stay tuned!
On the other side of town in Norfolk City Hall, the Big Coal train (namely Norfolk Southern) attempted to derail a Resolution by Norfolk City Council in opposition to the proposed ODEC Surry coal plant. Over 700 residents of Norfolk blasted emails to Council and dozens spoke out at this meeting and previous committee meetings. We kept the heat on which allowed us to prevent Big Coal’s hijacking of the resolution with watered down language. Instead we saw passage, albeit not ideal, of a provisional opposition resolution.
A special tip of the hat to many of our volunteers and especially Councilman Tommy Smigiel who worked extra hard on this Resolution as a tribute to Maria LoPresto, who tragically and suddenly passed away a few weeks ago. Maria served on the Norfolk Environmental Commission and was long before starting to work for the Sierra Club a very active environmentalist. We love and miss you, Maria!
Pilot Article: Tempers flare as Norfolk shifts on coal-fired plant
Pilot Article: Opponents face off over Virginia offshore drilling
Video: WAVY TV 10 News coverage
Pilot OpEd: Norfolk’s coal embarrassment
LTE: Oil Spills Effects Unclear