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Lawmakers Work To Bring Offshore Drilling To Virginia Waters

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Virginia lawmakers say offshore oil should be part of the commonwealth's energy strategy.
Virginia lawmakers say offshore oil should be part of the commonwealth's energy strategy.

A bipartisan group of Virginia lawmakers are quietly working to bring oil and gas drilling off the commonwealth's coast.

A presidential moratorium is the biggest hurdle facing supporters of offshore drilling in Virginia. The governor and legislature want it and the House already approved legislation to open up Virginia's coast for energy development.

Now Virginia's two Democratic senators are hoping to bring similar legislation to the floor that would allow the state to reap 37 percent of profits from any coastal drilling.

Sen. Mark Warner says coastal drilling needs to be a part of a comprehensive energy plan.

"I have an all-of-the-above energy policy," Warner says. "We need more renewables, we need to take on the threat of climate change, but we need to develop more domestic energy sources as well."

This fall, lawmakers are preparing to debate energy efficiency legislation, and they need to decide whether they want to renew tax incentives for the wind industry, but lawmakers only have nine legislative days scheduled for all of September. And now the unanticipated debate over whether to attack Syria may put domestic priorities on hold.

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