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Northern Va. Democrat Urges McDonnell To Be Cautious On Offshore Drilling

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By Jonathan Wilson

Virginia's Governor-Elect -- Bob McDonnell -- has written a letter to the country's Secretary of the Interior urging no further delay in allowing offshore drilling in Atlantic Coast waters.

Some democrats, are urging further caution, though. The Republican Governor-Elect's letter says by allowing the state to lease offshore rights to energy companies, the federal government will help Virginia create more than 2500 new jobs in a 10-year period. That comes from a forecast from Old Dominion University in 2005. McDonnell also says it could potentially generate $7.8 billion dollars in capital investments.

He says it appears the federal government has not made any progress toward opening the bidding since the public comment period ended a year ago. McDonnell also says he knows of several companies that are interested in placing bids.

Virginia Delegate Bob Brink, a Democrat from Arlington, hopes McDonnell reconsiders his stance.

"It's not an immediate quick fix to either our fiscal problems or our energy problems, and we need to look at it very carefully," says Brink.

Brink says the area in questions is valuable for tourism and fishing industries, and allowing drilling could hamper both.

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