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Virginia Excluded From Offshore Drilling List

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Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) is criticizing a decision by the Obama Administration to continue a ban on offshore drilling off the coast of Virginia.
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Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) is criticizing a decision by the Obama Administration to continue a ban on offshore drilling off the coast of Virginia.

The Obama Administration is proposing to open up more areas in the Gulf of Mexico and off Alaska's coast to oil and gas drilling -- but is not including areas off the coast of Virginia in that plan.

This means oil drilling is not in Virginia's future, at least for the next five years. The state was on the brink of being included in offshore oil and gas exploration, until the Deepwater Horizon oil spill disaster in the Gulf of Mexico pushed back any plans to open East Coast waters to drilling. 

Reactions  were mixed, although they didn't necessarily fall along party lines. Republican Gov. Bob McDonnell -- a longtime backer of drilling -- said he was "deeply critical" of the decision, arguing it would prevent the creation of thousands of jobs. But Sen. Jim Webb (D-Va.) also said he's hopeful the administration will reconsider and allow drilling off of Virginia's coast.  

Former Democratic Virginia governor and current U.S. Senate candidate Tim Kaine also said he was "disappointed" in the decision, arguing drilling could create jobs and provide much needed revenue to the state. 

But Rep. Jim Moran (D) applauded the decision, arguing that drilling wouldn't promote energy independence and would threaten fishing and tourism. The administration's proposed drilling plan is open to public comment through Jan. 9, 2012. 

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