The U.S. House of Representatives today passed the Offshore Energy and Jobs Act, opening the way for destructive offshore oil and gas drilling, and harmful seismic testing off Virginia’s coast.
In response Eileen Levandoski, Virginia Sierra Club Assistant Chapter Director issued the following statement:
“Though there has been a lot of talk about protecting the environment from drilling, the hard truth is that Congress has failed to pass a single law strengthening federal oversight of offshore oil and gas development since the BP Disaster– a disaster that the Gulf region is still recovering from.
The risk posed by drilling to our coastal economy and environment remains real and should not be discounted. As we’ve seen time and again, oil spills decimate tourism and fishing industries, while day-to-day operations threaten the charm of our resort cities. In Virginia, that means risking over $2.5 billion and more than 100,000 jobs in industries that depend on healthy waters and clean beaches.
The extreme leasing schedule for Virginia proposed in this bill undermines economic development efforts and compromises adequate environmental review. It ignores continued conflicts with the military and shipping lanes and continues the cycle of dirty fuels that are contributing to climate disruption. Especially here in Hampton Roads we cannot afford to ignore those threats, especially the rising sea levels that come with a changing climate.
The way forward is not risky and damaging drilling, but the development of clean, renewable offshore wind. It’s time to get off the path to drilling and start working toward the cleaner energy future that will benefit our community and our economy.”