On the same day BP finally admitted its figure of 5,000 barrels per day lowballs the actual size of the spill, the Newport News Daily Press reported Gov. Bob McDonnell may be playing games with offshore drilling job creation estimates:
Even before the Defense Department made known its objections to offshore drilling in Virginia, Bob McDonnell raised eyebrows with a letter he sent to the Interior Department in December.
The letter cites a 5-year-old study that predicts offshore natural gas production alone would generate 2,578 jobs in 10 years. That the then governor-elect would quote the study surprised its author, former Old Dominion University President James Koch, who called the document a "flyover from 30,000 feet."
"I've told them they shouldn't make too much of something done over the weekend," Koch said. "I don't even put that on my [curriculum] vitae."
So how many jobs would offshore drilling create in Virginia? Let's ask Big Oil:
A 2009 [American Petroleum Institute] study found that Virginia would gain 130 drilling jobs, plus another 291 related to drilling, by 2020. The figures jump to 216 and 415, respectively, by 2030.
Only 415 jobs 20 years from now? At the cost of risking this off Virginia's coast?
Former Virginia governor & current Democratic National Committee Chairman Tim Kaine says the spill should prompt a fresh look at our energy priorities:
Tell Senators Mark Warner & Jim Webb it's time to stop letting Big Oil write our energy policies.
"You have to weigh environmental safety. You have to weigh the significant naval operations and NASA operations off Virginia's coast," he added. "I think a third thing you'd have to weigh in Virginia's case is opportunity cost -- would it be better to do offshore wind?
"The same place where you might want to do oil rigs off the coast of Virginia, there's actually pretty favorable wind conditions," Kaine said.
"So you would look at all the options and you would put them all on the table, including the environmental conditions. And certainly the need to be diligent about that has certainly been escalated dramatically by what we've seen in the gulf."