For Immediate Release
Date: April 25, 2017
Contact: Ofirah Yheskel, firstname.lastname@example.org
RELEASE: Northam Slams Trump Administration’s Move to Expand Offshore Drilling off Virginia Coast
Richmond, VA – Yesterday, the Trump administration confirmed it is moving to expand offshore drilling by undoing President Obama’s December executive order designating the bulk of U.S.-owned waters in the Arctic Ocean and certain areas in the Atlantic Ocean, including Virginia, as indefinitely off limits to future oil and gas leasing. The order comes just one week after the seventh anniversary of the BP oil spill, one of the worst in U.S. History.
Expanding offshore drilling into now-restricted areas in the Atlantic would pose unacceptable risks to tourism, aquaculture, military operations, and NASA’s Wallops flight facility. Lieutenant Governor Ralph Northam has been a leader in fighting offshore drilling in the Commonwealth for these very reasons. In his environmental policy, Northam has outlined the steps he will take as governor to take the lead on Virginia’s preservation efforts and to hold Trump accountable when he fails to enforce conservation law
As State Senator and Lieutenant Governor, Ralph Northam fought efforts by Republicans and Democrats to open Virginia’s coast to offshore oil and gas drilling, even urging the Obama administration to exclude the Commonwealth from offshore drilling. He has also urged Congress to lift the liability cap that limits what energy companies must pay when they cause oil spills that damage our coastal communities.
In contrast, the lieutenant governor’s primary opponent Tom Perriello fought for offshore drilling and opposed $50 million in cleanup funds for the Chesapeake Bay during his short tenure in Congress. He also voted against a measure to increase safety standards for offshore drilling and to lift the liability cap for energy companies in the wake of the BP oil spill.
“Opening up the Virginia coast for drilling would hurt our environment, economy, and people—but President Trump would do it anyway,” said Lieutenant Governor Ralph Northam. “The only thing Donald Trump has accomplished in the most lackluster first one hundred days of any modern presidency is making his disdain for environmental conservation loud and clear. Virginia must take the lead on ensuring our natural resources and landscape can be enjoyed for generations to come, and continue to provide economic benefits to the communities where they are located. As governor, I’ll continue standing up to the threat of polluting our waters and preserving the health of our environment for years to come.”
Perriello Cosponsored A Bill With Bob Goodlatte To “Move Forward With Lease Sale 220, An Oil And Natural Gas Lease Sale Off Virginia’s Coast.” “A bipartisan bill was introduced today by Virginia Congressmen Bob Goodlatte, Glenn Nye, Robert Wittman, Rick Boucher, Frank Wolf, Tom Perriello, Eric Cantor and Randy Forbes to take legislative action to move forward with Lease Sale 220, an oil and natural gas lease sale off Virginia’s coast. This sale was originally scheduled for 2011, but put on hold by the Interior Department. We commend this bipartisan effort to allow oil and natural gas leasing in federal waters offshore Virginia, a policy that more than two in three citizens of the Commonwealth support.” [Energy Tomorrow, 3/25/10; H.R.4942, 3/25/10]
When President Obama Announced The Opening Of Offshore Drilling In Virginia, Perriello Said “I’m Glad To See The President Take A Step In This Direction.” “U.S. Rep. Tom Perriello also released a statement, praising the president’s actions. ‘I have always advocated for an ‘everything and the kitchen sink’ national energy strategy that includes an expansion of oil drilling, and I have cosponsored bipartisan legislation to make this happen. I’m glad to see the president take a step in this direction for Virginia, but this must be part of a real energy independence strategy, not an excuse to avoid one.’” [CBS 19, 3/31/10]
Perriello Voted Against The FY 2010 Department Of The Interior, Environment, And Related Agencies Appropriations Act, Which Included $50 Million For Chesapeake Bay Cleanup. “Chesapeake Bay.—The conference agreement includes $50,000,000 for this program. In light of the new Executive Order on the Bay, which places additional demands on and expectations of the Agency and States, the conferees have included an increase above the request. The conferees direct the Agency to report within 30 days of enactment a proposed allocation of the additional funds. The conferees expect this allocation to recognize that the funds are intended to support additional regulatory and accountability programs to control urban, suburban and agricultural runoff in the watershed. The allocation should emphasize increases to State grant programs to support and expand the States’ regulatory and enforcement capabilities.” [Vote #826, 10/29/09; H.R.2996, Enacted 10/30/09; H.Rept.111-316, 10/28/09]
Headline, Daily Press: “Record $50m Ok’d For Restoration.” “Congress has approved a record $50 million to restore the Chesapeake Bay, a sign that the troubled waterway is becoming a greater priority among federal lawmakers, environmentalists said. The appropriation, which will fund regulatory enforcement and accountability, is a 61-percent increase from fiscal year 2009-10, when Congress set aside $31 million. ‘It indicates that both the administration and Congress are serious about wanting to do more for the bay,’ said Doug Siglin, federal affairs director of the Annapolis, Md.-based Chesapeake Bay Foundation.” [Daily Press, 11/2/09]
After The BP Oil Spill, Perriello Voted Against A Bill To Increase Safety Standards For Offshore Drilling And Repeal The $75 Million Liability Cap For Oil Spills. “The House has approved a bill to boost safety standards for offshore drilling and remove a liability cap for oil spills, but a partisan fight in the Senate will likely delay action on a response to the Gulf oil spill until Congress returns from its summer recess. Democratic leaders hailed the House bill, approved Friday, as a comprehensive response to the devastating oil spill. They said it would increase drilling safety and crack down on polluting oil companies, such as BP. Companies with significant workplace safety or environmental violations over the preceding seven years would be banned from new offshore drilling permits, and whistleblower protections would be extended to oil and gas workers who report hazardous conditions or other problems. The measure was approved, 209-193. […] The bill also would remove the current $75 million cap on economic damages to be paid by oil companies after major spills and increases to $300 million the financial responsibility offshore operators must demonstrate in most cases. And it would create new ‘conservation’ fees on oil and natural gas extracted from land or water controlled by the federal government.” [Vote #513, 7/30/10; H.R.3534, Introduced 9/8/09; Associated Press, 7/31/10]
CQ: “Democrats Hailed The Measure, Which Was Strongly Backed By The White House, As A Necessary Response To The BP Oil Spill And As A Means To Prevent The Next Potential Catastrophe.” “Democrats hailed the measure, which was strongly backed by the White House, as a necessary response to the BP oil spill and as a means to prevent the next potential catastrophe. The April explosion of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig killed 11 workers and has spewed millions of gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico.” [Congressional Quarterly, 7/30/10]