Governor-elect Ralph Northam Thursday requested an exemption to the Trump administration’s plan to allow offshore drilling in nearly all of United States coastal waters.
The request comes two days after Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke granted an exemption to the state of Florida after a meeting with Gov. Rick Scott.
“I grew up on Virginia’s Eastern Shore and can tell you firsthand that the Chesapeake Bay and the Commonwealth’s ocean and coastal resources are every bit as ecologically and economically valuable as those of Florida, a state that was recently exempted from the leasing plan,” Northam wrote in a letter to Zinke. “I am encouraged by the decision to exempt Florida from the plan, and respectfully ask that the same exemption be made for the Commonwealth of Virginia.”
— Secretary Ryan Zinke (@SecretaryZinke) January 9, 2018
Northam also asked the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management to allow Virginians the opportunity to participate in a series of hearings that will include Hampton Roads before the public comment period ends on March 9.
In a statement after the new offshore drilling plan was announced last week, Northam said the plan would jeopardize the Commonwealth’s “economy, environment, national security, and the health and safety of our residents.”
Northam is not alone. Leaders in California, Oregon, New York, North Carolina, Maryland, New Jersey and Washington have also requested exemptions.
This article was published in partnership with our sister publication, Southside Daily.