RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — U.S. Rep. Scott Rigell is winning praise for his bid to make Virginia's offshore waters available to gas and oil exploration.
The Hampton Roads Republican has proposed an amendment to the Strategic Energy Production Act that would include Virginia in future federal lease sales to energy companies. Gov. Bob McDonnell endorsed the legislation, which echoes his energy-development ambitions, and the state director of the National Federation of Independent Business backed Rigell's amendment.
Virginia waters were to be open to energy exploration until the BP Gulf of Mexico oil disaster. President Barack Obama delayed the sale of any leases off Virginia until at least 2017.
Opponents of offshore oil and gas exploration say the energy reserves off the coast aren't worth the risk to coastal tourism and commercial fishing.
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