Kaine leading public forum in Hampton Roads on threat of offshore drilling

Senator Tim Kaine (D-Virginia) wants to keep offshore drilling away from Virginia's coast, and he's getting some bipartisan support.

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va  (WAVY) — Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) will be in Hampton Roads to lead a public forum on Monday to talk about the threat of offshore drilling to Virginia.

Kaine plans to meet with other leaders in our area Monday morning to express his concerns about the Trump Administration’s proposal to open up Virginia’s waters to drilling.

Sen. Tim Kaine (D- Va.), left, speaks WAVY reporter Chris Horne on Jan. 15, 2018 at a public forum on offshore drilling. (Credit: WAVY/Walter hildebrand).

Earlier this month, the Trump Administration decided to open nearly all federal waters to new oil and gas drilling. The proposal lifted a ban put in place by former President Barack Obama.

President Donald Trump’s interior secretary says the plan would boost jobs, help the economy and provide funding for shoreline conservation.

The move drew widespread opposition from nearly every governor with an ocean coastline. Last week the administration dropped Florida from the offshore drilling plan following a request from the Republican Gov. Rick Scott. This prompted a call from several states, including Virginia, to be given similar exceptions.

Kaine says the plan puts communities at risks, hurts major sectors of our economy and threatens the environment and naval operations in Hampton Roads.

“As I’m in the Hampton Roads area, I hear again and again from people connected to the military, people connected with the tourism industry, people connected with the watermen’s industry in the Chesapeake Bay and the Eastern Shore, that offshore drilling is just too great a risk,” Kaine said.

Kaine is getting bipartisan support against offshore drilling in Virginia. Rep. Scott Taylor (R-Va.) also opposes the plan.

Taylor said he’s taking into account the best interests of the military, tourism and other parts of his district that stretches from Virginia Beach to the Eastern Shore. However, Republican Rob Wittman supports drilling and says it would lead to economic growth and further national security.

Kaine plans to lead a public forum against offshore drilling in Virginia Beach at the Hilton Garden Inn at the oceanfront at 9:30 a.m.