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Virginia Lawmakers Still Debating Offshore Drilling

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An offshore drilling rig off the coast of Galveston, Texas. Some Virginia lawmakers are pushing to allow drilling off the coast of the state.
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An offshore drilling rig off the coast of Galveston, Texas. Some Virginia lawmakers are pushing to allow drilling off the coast of the state.

Negotiations to work out a revenue-sharing deal over drilling off Virginia's coast are at an impasse in the State Senate. But Virginia House members aren't giving up their effort yet.

U.S. House Rep. Rob Wittman (R-Va.) cosponsored a bill in to allow coastal drilling in Virginia and he says it only makes sense for some of that money to go to the state.

"At the end of the day it needs to be a level playing field," he says. "Virginia needs to get the same proceeds as Alaska and the Gulf states do for the development of their fossil fuels."

Even with the potential for extra revenue, critics, such as Rep. Bobby Scott (D-Va.), say it's not all about dollars coming in to the state's coffers.

"The shoreline is so important to Virginia in terms of recreation, fishing, economic development and the environment," Scott says. "The change in gas prices that would result from offshore drilling would be negligible."

Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) wants to use any revenue from drilling to fix the state's roads and bridges, but it's unclear if House members can convince Senate negotiators to come over to their side.

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