NRDC Tool Reveals Virginia Delegation’s Stances on Offshore Drilling

WASHINGTON (August 15, 2018) – The Natural Resources Defense Council is launching a new digital tool today to help the American people track where their governors and members of Congress stand on the Trump administration’s proposal to expose nearly all of our coasts to offshore oil and gas drilling.

The following is a statement from Franz Matzner, Director of Federal Affairs for the Natural Resources Defense Council:

“Drilling is the last thing Virginia needs. The state is already ground zero for sea level rise. Producing dirty energy offshore would lock in decades of carbon pollution, exacerbating the effects of climate change and putting coasts and communities at even greater risk.

“This tool gives people a quick way to look up elected officials in the Virginia delegation and see where they stand on this issue.  Protecting the state’s $2 billion coastal economy is going to require unyielding, united opposition to Trump’s radical oil and gas drilling plan.”

What NRDC’s analysis reveals about the Virginia delegation:

There’s still work to do to solidify opposition to Trump’s plan:  Half of the Virginia delegation has called upon the Trump administration to reverse course and protect Virginia’s shores from offshore drilling.

But six members of Congress continue to support drilling:

  • Representative Rob Wittman
  • Representative Tom Garrett, Jr.
  • Representative Bob Goodlatte
  • Representative David Bratt
  • Representative Morgan Griffith
  • Representative Barbara Comstock

Senator Mark Warner, joined by Representative Scott Taylor, opposes new drilling only at the state level, leaving Virginia’s coast vulnerable to oil spills and the harms of climate change.

The following lawmakers oppose all new drilling:

  • Senator Tim Kaine
  • Representative Bobby Scott
  • Representative Donald McEachin
  • Representative Don Beyer
  • Representative Gerry Connolly

Governor Ralph Northam opposes new drilling.

The stakes are high in Virginia:  Its prized coastline provides $2 billion in economic output annually.  Its ocean waters are critical to the Navy’s training and military readiness.

NRDC determined that the order of strength of opposition would be ranked as follows: 1) Voting on offshore drilling amendments in 2018; 2) Co-sponsoring, sponsoring, or signing on to a relevant bill in the 115th Congress; 3) Signing on to a letter or submitting an official comment to the Bureau of Energy Management in 2018. Whichever avenue a member of Congress chose to make their support or opposition clear, NRDC took the extent of that particular geographical specification to determine their designation.

Click on NRDC’s digital tool, “Stop Trump’s Offshore Drilling Assault,” to see where members of Virginia’s delegation stand on drilling.

For more on the topic, here is a blog by NRDC’s Alexandra Adams and Franz Matzner.

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The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) is an international nonprofit environmental organization with more than 3 million members and online activists. Since 1970, our lawyers, scientists, and other environmental specialists have worked to protect the world's natural resources, public health, and the environment. NRDC has offices in New York City, Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, Bozeman, MT, and Beijing. Visit us at and follow us on Twitter @NRDC.​

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