Big News today as the Department of Interior has indefinitely suspended plans for an oil and gas lease sale off the Virginia coastline. The department postponed the comment period on the plan indefinitely and canceled a series of public meetings that had been scheduled for this month on the proposed lease sale.
In a notice to be published in the Federal Register tomorrow, the Minerals Management Service announces the suspension of the comment period on the proposed Virginia lease sale, known formally as Outer Continental Shelf Mid-Atlantic Oil and Gas Lease Sale 220. No further comments are being solicited, pending a decision by Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, it says.
Could this be a prelude to reinstating the federal moratorium on new offshore oil drilling?
The Eastern Shore Defense Alliance, a group of business and civic leaders from Virginia and Maryland who lobby on behalf of Wallops Flight Facility have serious concerns about the 2.9 million acre proposed drilling area off the coast of Virginia that falls within naval training grounds and the rocket launch range of NASA’s Wallops Island.
“It’s just not a prudent idea,” to drill, said Steve Habeger, president of the alliance. “How does an oil platform accommodate tons of flaming debris falling on it?”