As crews take action to stop the massive flow of oil spewing into the Gulf of Mexico, “Virginia leaders are reconsidering their support for drilling off the state’s coast.” Both of Virginia’s senators, who support drilling, said they agree with President Obama’s decision to halt all new offshore drilling until a full investigation is completed about the BP disaster. Rep. James Moran (D-VA) wrote a letter to Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, “urging him to reconsider allowing offshore drilling.” The mayor of Virginia Beach, the state’s largest city, who has also supported drilling, said the BP spill “gives me great concern.” Meanwhile, Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) “continues to lobby aggressively to drill for oil and natural gas without delay”:
McDonnell (R), who has made drilling off Virginia’s coast one of his administration’s top priorities, flew to Houston on Monday to tout the benefits of offshore drilling at an industry-sponsored conference. He told reporters before he left that he does not want to postpone drilling but to learn from the accident off Louisiana’s coast.
“What we do as Americans is we find out what went wrong and how can we do things better,” McDonnell said. “I think that’s the spirit of the American people.” [...]
McDonnell said he wants to see a full investigation into the Louisiana accident, but he still thinks that drilling could begin off Virginia’s coast as soon as next year or early 2012.
McDonnell was speaking at the 2010 Offshore Technology Conference, which “was sponsored by a variety of companies and associations, including BP.” McDonnell joins a number of other Republicans and conservatives who have crassly used the Gulf spill to call for more drilling. Despite the massive devastation his state is likely to endure in coming days, Sen. David Vitter (R-LA) exploited the disaster to call for new offshore drilling subsidies for Louisiana.