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Pentagon: Virginia Offshore Drilling Would Interfere With Military

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By Rebecca Blatt

The Department of Defense says drilling off the coast of Virginia would interfere with military operations, and is trying to place the vast majority of space being considered for offshore leases off limits.

In a new report the Pentagon says that approximately three-quarters of the area off the coast of Virginia being considered for leases is used for military training and testing. And it says much of the rest of the space is used heavily by commercial ships.

Congressman Jim Moran, an opponent of offshore drilling, says the implications for the Commonwealth are clear.

"It conclusively precludes offshore drilling from Virginia's shores," he says. "They can drill someplace else, but they can't conduct these naval operations anyplace else."

The Pentagon cannot unilaterally veto drilling proposals, but Dorothy Robyn, deputy under secretary of defense, says drilling has never taken place in an area objected to by the military.

Stacy Johnson, a spokesperson for Gov. Bob McDonnell, indicated in a statement that his administration was not prepared to abandon offshore plans.

"We are confident that offshore energy production and the United States military can coexist in Virginia without any disruption or unwanted intrusion upon either," she says.

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