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Interior Department Okays Offshore Wind For Md., Va.

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The U.S. Interior Department has given the go ahead for offshore wind leases off the coasts of Maryland and Virginia.
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The U.S. Interior Department has given the go ahead for offshore wind leases off the coasts of Maryland and Virginia.

The Interior Department is giving the green light for leasing wind turbines off the coasts of Maryland and Virginia, but Republicans in the region say the announcement highlights hypocrisy in the administration.

Officials at the Interior Department say there are no major environmental risks to harnessing wind in some of the seas of the Mid-Atlantic, information that is being greeted gleefully by clean energy proponents.

Rep. Scott Riggell (R-Va.) says any progress toward becoming energy independent is important for the nation.

"Wind is part of that, and it's of course more than that," he says.

Riggell is sponsoring legislation to force the Obama Administration to open up Virginia's coast to oil and natural gas exploration, which could bring thousands of jobs to his district in Hampton Roads and elsewhere. Riggell accuses the president is trying to have it both ways by calling for an all of the above energy strategy while only streamlining renewable energy production.

"This is a principled disagreement that I have with the president, because this is where I think what he's saying publicly and what we're experiencing in Virginia, and specifically in Hampton Roads, we can't reconcile it," Riggell says. "There's a disconnect between what he's saying publicly and in what we're experiencing in Hampton Roads."

The administration says GOP complaints ring hollow. In speeches, President Obama has been highlighting that domestic oil production is at its highest level since 2003.

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