Virginia Republicans say if wind energy is coming, oil and gas drilling should, too.
Lawmakers of all stripes are lauding the Department of Energy for opening the door to wind production off the commonwealth's coast. But Virginia Republicans say that bolsters their argument for lifting the moratorium on offshore oil and gas drilling.
"Well it's inconsistent," says Rep. Rob Wittman (R-Va.). While experts say the risk oil and gas drilling poses is substantially higher to the environment if a spill occurs, Wittman says with the proper technology it can bring jobs to the state and lower energy costs.
"Like anything else there are risks, but these risks can be managed to very very reasonable levels," Wittman says.
But Virginia Democratic Congressman Gerry Connolly says it's comparing apples to oranges. He says a big factor in not allowing fossil fuel development off the coast is the Navy's concern about the impact on its fleet.
"So we're going to have to proceed very carefully and cautiously when it comes to oil drilling if we don't want to risk the Navy moving to Florida," Connolly says.
Lawmakers in both parties have called for the Obama administration to lift the moratorium on coastal drilling, but the administration doesn't seem to be changing its stance anytime soon.