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Virginia Senate committee to vote on offshore drilling bill

A committee in the Virginia Senate is expected to vote on a bill that would prohibit offshore drilling in Virginia's waters.

RICHMOND, Va. — The Virginia Senate Committee on Agriculture, Conservation and Natural Resources is expected to vote on a bill Thursday to prohibit offshore oil and gas drilling.

Senator Bill DeSteph, Jr. (R-Virginia Beach) introduced the bill.

The bill would prohibit the Marine Resources Commission or the Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy from granting any lease or permit for oil or gas exploration or drilling. The bill would also prohibit the construction of oil or gas infrastructure in Virginia territorial waters near the Commonwealth.

Current law allows organizations to grant oil and gas leases on state-owned bottomlands, which are defined as lands lying within three miles of the shore.

The legislation would also repeal Virginia Code that supports gas exploration more than 50 miles offshore.

The Chesapeake Bay Foundation Virginia Executive Director Rebecca Tomazin released the following statement about the bill:

“Offshore drilling is far too risky for Virginia, threatening clean water and our coastal economy. Senator DeSteph’s legislation offers an important defense for the Commonwealth. Banning drilling in state waters would send a clear message from Virginia legislators against the potentially dire consequences of offshore oil and gas production.”

Click below to view the full bill:

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