31 March 2005 00:02 [Source: ICIS news]
WASHINGTON (CNI)--Virginia Governor Mark Warner (Democrat) has vetoed legislation that would have been a first step toward ending the 24-year federal ban on drilling for natural gas off the state's coast.?xml:namespace>
The bill, which easily passed the General Assembly, would have directed the governor’s office to work with the state’s congressional delegation on legislation that would provide an exemption to the existing moratorium on offshore natural gas exploration and development activities.
In a statement, Warner said it was not appropriate for his office to direct the work of the state's lobbyists. But he added: “There is nothing to prevent individual legislators or groups of legislators from advocating for these or other policies.”
Warner said the matter needs further study. “We need consensus on a national energy policy, and the contemplated federal legislation raises significant public policy issues on which I am willing to keep an open mind,” he remarked.
The General Assembly will vote to sustain or override the governor’s veto during a reconvened session that begins 6 April.
Environmental groups urged Warner to veto the bill, expressing concern that if ?xml:namespace>
"The governor sent a clear message:
Town said: “
A federal moratorium has been in place for over 20 years that bars drilling for oil and gas along the entire Atlantic seaboard, the Pacific coast, and part of the eastern coast of the Gulf of Mexico. Energy companies and the chemical industry have tried to persuade Congress for years to open the coasts to oil and gas development, but without success.
The bill's sponsor, state Senator Frank Wagner (Republican) expressed disappointment at the governor's decision and vowed to reintroduce the proposal next year, after the gubernatorial election.
"Virginians are demanding a solution to skyrocketing fuel bills and my legislation offered one key building block to that solution," Wagner said.
The push to open
"The push to drill off
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