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Last week, gubernatorial candidate Bob McDonnell wrote the other candidates for Governor asking them to join him in signing a letter to Interior Secretary Salazar. It was a letter that asked the new Interior Secretary to reject Governor Kaine's recent request that Virginia Lease Sale 220 be removed from the 2007-2012 program and included instead with the 2010-2015 program for offshore oil and gas lease sales. In essence, McDonnell’s letter asserts that it is somehow a bad idea to proceed with gathering adequate information and ensure that we have the scientific data needed to make a reasoned decision about the aggressive Bush offshore drilling plans now still aimed at our coastline here in Virginia.
The coast of Virginia is now at a point in the offshore drilling program where a recent “Call for Information” (deadline was Jan. 13, 2009) has asked for “particular environmental, biological, archaeological, socioeconomic, and geological conditions or potential conflicts, or other information that might bear upon the potential leasing, exploration, and development of the program area and vicinity.” The requested information was solicited for the Virginia waters located strictly within the initial 2.9 million acres comprising the federal Lease Sale 220 area, but Interior did not ask what Virginians think about a second followup offshore drilling plan only three miles from shore, now scheduled for 2014.