Virginia was not included in the federal government’s five-year offshore oil and gas leasing program.
U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar said Tuesday that the program will make more than 75 percent of “technically recoverable” oil and gas resources in the U.S. available for exploration and development. The areas chosen include six offshore areas where current active lease and exploration is ongoing and where there is known or suspected hydrocarbon potential.
The program includes 15 potential lease sales for the 2012-2017 timeframe, including 12 in the Gulf of Mexico and three off the coast of Alaska.
Virginia’s U.S. Senators Mark Warner and Jim Webb have said they will appeal the administration’s decision not to open Virginia’s coast for offshore exploration and development.
“This is disappointing, because the safe, responsible development of offshore energy resources has broad support from Virginians and among the bipartisan elected leadership of the state,” Warner said in a statement. “I will be strongly urging the administration to take another look at including Virginia in its five-year plan.”
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