Offshore Drill Battle Comes To Richmond

Only Hearing In Virginia Is Held Well Inland

February 21, 2018 - 4:34 pm

Richmond, VA ( –  Opponents and supporters of offshore drilling descended on eastern Henrico County Wednesday afternoon, as a hotel along Laburnum Avenue served as the home for the only hearing in Virginia on the possibility of opening the coast to offshore exploration.   Governor Ralph Northam (D) has demanded the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management hold additional hearings in Hampton Roads and the Eastern Shore.  The Trump Administration, in January, announced it was going to allow drilling, although Florida has already managed to get its coast removed from the plan.

Opponents, like Virginia Beach restaurateur Laura Wood Habr, say just the perception of drilling will hurt Virginia's seafood and tourism industry.  She says she's talked to restaurants in Louisiana, where drilling is allowed, and they suffered greatly following the Deepwater Horizon spill in 2010.  

Supporters, however, say the technology has improved greatly since the spill, and that the work can be done cleanly and safely.   They also argue that Virginia should at least sit at the table to hear the idea out, rather than just saying "no."  Leases for drilling, if allowed, would start to be sold next year

Photo Credit:  Matt Demlein, Newsradio WRVA