Plan would extend offshore drilling in Gulf, off Virginian and off Alaska

Washington Post:

The Interior Department will announce a proposal Monday to allow oil and gas drilling in federal waters near Virginia that are currently off-limits and permit new exploration in Alaska's Bristol Bay and the Gulf of Mexico, according to people who have seen or been told about drafts of the plan.

The department issued a news release yesterday that was lacking details but said that it had finished a five-year plan that will include a "major proposal for expanded oil and natural gas development on the U.S. Outer Continental Shelf." Department officials declined to describe the plan.

Congress would still have to agree to open areas currently off-limits before any drilling could take place off Virginia's coast. Every year since 1982, after an oil spill off Santa Barbara, Calif., Congress has reaffirmed a moratorium on drilling off the nation's Atlantic and Pacific coasts. Last year, after a vigorous push by drilling advocates, Congress opened new waters in the Gulf of Mexico.


Environmental groups said yesterday that they were troubled by the idea of oil exploration and drilling so near the wildlife refuge on Assateague Island and in an area closely linked to the Chesapeake Bay. Some of the bay's best-known species, such as blue crabs and rockfish, migrate to the ocean.

Activists said that simply looking for oil and gas could cause environmental harm if waste products used to lubricate or cool drill bits are cast overboard. Such materials are often toxic, and could threaten marine life in the area, said Richard Charter of Defenders of Wildlife.

Environmental wackos have been conspiring to starve this country of energy for years and they can be expected to continue to be the best friends of imported oil. There are numerous rigs in the Gulf of Mexico that survive hurricanes and other calamities without any significant problems. The fish and other marine life thrive around them, in much the same way the caribou thrive around the oil pipeline on the North Slope of Alaska. Sailboat races use the platforms for offshore race markers. The opposition to drilling in these places has to be based on emotion since factual argues raised by the environmentalist are of little to no merit.


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