Foundation wants city to oppose offshore drilling

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) – Right now, a petition is circulating through Virginia Beach for officials to say no to offshore drilling.

It’s been five years since the city of Virginia Beach said yes to exploring off shore drilling. Now an environmental group wants the council to reconsider, and the city council is all ears.

Another summer day packs the beach-goers in at the Oceanfront. It is a scene that represents the heart of the resort city. Christina Trapani makes it her mission to keep the coast clear.

“The city is trying to keep these beaches clean,” she said. “We’re here to help.”

Trapani works with the group Surfrider Foundation. This month, the foundation began a petition to keep the city from exploring offshore oil and gas drilling.

“There’s always a risk with offshore drilling,” she said. “We’ve seen that with obviously the BP oil spill, we’re seeing that out in California right now.”

Their bone of contention comes from an October 2010 resolution passed in Virginia Beach’s City Council. It’s a resolution that gave the OK to explore drilling for fuels and development, according to city councilman John Uhrin.

“We were clearly looking for ways to expand the economy and I think that was the overarching opinion at the time,” Uhrin said. “It was that it would be a job creator.”

In recent years, Uhrin agrees that spills from BP and others have put a warning sign up for Virginia Beach.

“Its probably the right opportunity to have a discussion and decide whether or not that’s still the prudent position for the council to have.”

Along the boardwalk, Trapani scans the lifeblood at the heart of the Resort City and can’t help but see the damage she says even one spill would cause.

“Our city depends on the tourism industry and we know from past experiences that beach closures don’t do anyone any favors,” she said.

The city council will have a briefing on the off shore drilling resolution at the August 18 meeting.

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