Norfolk city council votes to oppose offshore drilling, seismic testing

NORFOLK – City council unanimously voted to oppose offshore drilling and seismic testing during the formal session on Tuesday night.

Norfolk joined Virginia Beach in its opposition, as the city also voted on the issue last month.

Ellis James, a Norfolk resident and member of the local Sierra Club, addressed council just before their vote. James encouraged council members to take note of Virginia Beach’s recent vote, saying that the city was previously in support of drilling but had a change of heart.

“They have now switched, loud and clear, to let the interior department and the Navy and everybody else know that they are no longer in favor of offshore drilling,” James said.

A resolution presented to city council by Deputy City Manager Wynter Benda read that oil and gas drilling could potentially harm marine life and the environment, as well as tourism and the city’s economy.

The resolution also said that “seismic testing has been found to be disruptive to marine mammals, fish and other marine life,” and any drilling would further endanger the Chesapeake Bay’s coastal wetlands and fisheries.

“Thank you to the Norfolk Environmental Commission as well for supporting this and instructing us on this,” Councilperson Andria McClellan said before her vote on Tuesday. “I’m happy to be joining the city of Virginia Beach.”

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