Virginia upset by OCS shun

Nov. 15, 2011 at 10:32 AM

WASHINGTON, Nov. 15 (UPI) -- It was wrong for the U.S. Interior Department to leave Virginia out of plans to expand oil and gas work on the Outer Continental Shelf, a lawmaker said.

Last week, U.S. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar announced a proposed five-year lease program for oil and gas development on the Outer Continental Shelf. The proposal calls for 12 lease sales in the Gulf of Mexico and three off the Alaskan coast.

Supporters of more domestic oil and gas development complained the decision left out key areas such as offshore Virginia and other potential reserves off the Atlantic Coast.

U.S. Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., told the Platts news service the Interior Department made the wrong decision.

"It's the wrong decision, I hope they'll reconsider, and remember, if we start this process it will be years before we see any oil or gas coming off the state of Virginia," he was quoted as saying.

He noted that former U.S. President George W. Bush and current President Barack Obama had considered developing Virginia's offshore assets prior to last year's oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

Salazar said there were concerns related to the U.S. Navy's ability to navigate waters laden with oil and natural gas infrastructure.

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