After years of staunch support for offshore oil drilling off the coast of Virginia, Governor Terry McAuliffe today for the first time declared his opposition to this dangerous practice. The Governor suggested that weak environmental regulation and enforcement under Donald Trump’s federal agencies drove his decision to finally oppose the practice.
Statement from CCAN’s Virginia Policy Coordinator Harrison Wallace:
Citizens across Virginia were relieved today to hear Governor McAuliffe finally opposes the dangerous practice of offshore drilling off the coast of Virginia. While this decision was long overdue, it is nonetheless the responsible course to protect Virginia’s environment and coastal economy. We applaud the governor on this change of policy.
However, Governor McAuliffe still staunchly supports two proposed massive pipelines for fracked gas across Virginia: the Atlantic Coast and Mountain Valley pipelines. If the governor applied the same concerns over weak Trump administration enforcement to these pipelines, he would also declare his opposition. The fact is these controversial pipelines will be built and regulated with oversight from Trump’s Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, Trump’s Environmental Protection Agency, Trump’s Department of Energy, and Trump’s U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
If federal agencies under Trump can’t be trusted to keep Virginians safe from offshore drilling, they certainly can’t be trusted to keep Virginia’s water, environment, farmland, and economy safe from fracked-gas pipelines. Governor McAuliffe should reject these pipelines today.