Drilling off Virginia coast would be too destructive

In a reversal of Obama administration efforts, President Trump has moved to expand offshore drilling in almost all U.S. coastal waters. This move marks the first major effort to expand offshore drilling opportunities since 1984 and also the largest expansion of its kind in U.S. history.

Despite objections from local government, business groups, the military and environmentalists, the Trump administration continues its push to open up the Atlantic Ocean to offshore drilling.

Despite clear opposition from businesses and local leaders, U.S. Rep. Rob Wittman has repeatedly spoken in favor or seismic testing and offshore exploration.

The ocean economy (including tourism, recreation and the fishing industry) in Virginia’s 1st Congressional District is valued at $583 million. Just as importantly, ocean-related industry provides close to 9,000 jobs. If the administration continues this push, and if politicians like Wittman go along with it, Virginia’s coast could be opened to drilling, which would threaten coastal communities and economies.

Virginia has too much to lose and too little to gain from offshore drilling. We need legislators who are willing to put the interests of their district at the forefront of their agenda.

It’s time for Wittman to recognize the dangers offshore drilling pose to the 1st District. It’s not too late for him to put his constituents first and come out against Trump’s reckless plans.

Lia Kelly


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