Virginia Bans Offshore Oil and Gas Drilling - Oceana USA

Virginia Bans Offshore Oil and Gas Drilling

Oceana applauds Gov. Northam for signing into law permanent protections for Virginia’s coast.

Press Release Date: August 5, 2020

Location: RICHMOND


Dustin Cranor, APR | email: | tel: 954.348.1314


RICHMOND – Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam (D) recently signed groundbreaking protections from offshore drilling (H.B. 706) into law. The new law bans oil and gas drilling and related infrastructure off of Virginia’s coast. The law also removes previous state support from any federal efforts to permit offshore oil drilling or exploration. Offshore drilling threatens more 86,000 jobs and $44.8 billion in GDP generated from fishing tourism and recreation along Virginia’s 3,300-mile coastline.

President Trump has proposed expanding offshore drilling to nearly all federal waters, including the Atlantic Ocean. While states may not have the authority to prevent drilling in federal waters, a ban on infrastructure in state waters creates a strong deterrent for companies wishing to drill off Virginia’s coast.

“We applaud Gov. Northam for signing this bill into law, protecting Virginia’s coast and making it clear that President Trump’s plan to expand drilling is not welcome in the commonwealth.” said Caroline Wood, Oceana’s field campaigns manager. “Virginians are no longer willing to risk their coastal communities, clean beaches and healthy ocean for dirty and dangerous offshore drilling.”

With this law, Virginia joins the growing number of states that have passed measures to block new offshore drilling, including California, Delaware, Florida, Maine, Maryland, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Oregon and South Carolina. As of today, opposition and concern over efforts to radically expand offshore drilling activities in U.S. waters includes:

  • Every single East and West Coast governor, including Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Maine, California, Oregon and Washington
  • More than 380 East and West Coast municipalities
  • Over 2,300 local, state and federal bipartisan officials
  • East and West Coast alliances representing over 56,000 businesses and 500,000 fishing families
  • New England, South and Mid-Atlantic fishery management councils
  • More than 120 scientists
  • More than 80 former military leaders
  • Commercial and recreational fishing interests such as Southeastern Fisheries Association, Snook and Gamefish Foundation, Fisheries Survival Fund, Southern Shrimp Alliance, Billfish Foundation and International Game Fish Association
  • California Coastal Commission, California Fish and Game Commission and California State Lands Commission
  • Department of Defense, NASA, U.S. Air Force and Florida Defense Support Task Force

A complete list opposition can be found here.

Oceana is the largest international advocacy organization dedicated solely to ocean conservation. Oceana is rebuilding abundant and biodiverse oceans by winning science-based policies in countries that control one third of the world’s wild fish catch. With more than 200 victories that stop overfishing, habitat destruction, pollution and killing of threatened species like turtles and sharks, Oceana’s campaigns are delivering results. A restored ocean means that one billion people can enjoy a healthy seafood meal, every day, forever. Together, we can save the oceans and help feed the world. Visit to learn more.