The MMS plans to issue a notice Thursday requesting public comments and evaluating the possible environmental impacts of drilling offshore Virginia.
Although it has started gathering information, the agency said no official decision has been made to actually hold a lease sale. If the agency decides to allow drilling, the first lease sale for the area is proposed for 2011.
Somehow, this issue just keeps rearing its hydra-like head. For North Carolina, drilling off Virginia is a concern. Jim Stephenson of the Coastal Federation had this to say:
"One of our concerns is if there is a spill or a catastrophe of any sort, it's very likely that the prevailing Labrador Current will place the oil slicks on North Carolina beaches, particularly the Outer Banks," said Jim Stephenson, policy director of the N.C. Coastal Federation.
The idea is that, with a majority unfavorable to offshore drilling in Congress and a more environmentally oriented Executive Branch, the congressional ban will either be reinstated or the country will see much stricter environmental standards for rigs.