After years of support, Virginia Beach is no longer for — or against — offshore drilling

VIRGINIA BEACH — After five years of supporting offshore drilling for oil or gas, the City Council on Tuesday pulled back from that position but stopped short of officially opposing the practice.

Councilman John Uhrin brought a resolution to repeal the support the council gave in 2010 at the request of then-governor Bob McDonnell. It passed 10-1.

Councilman John Moss tried to amend the Uhrin’s resolution so it said the city had “insufficient knowledge” to take a stand and was therefore neutral. That move failed 4-7.

“This is a tough issue,” Councilman Bob Dyer said.

Before voting, the council heard from eight speakers, all opposed to drilling. They said an oil spill would not only endanger millions aquatic lives, including rare whales, but also damage the city’s crucial tourism industry.

The council has been rethinking its position on offshore drilling and intends to do more research on the potential impacts while it decides what is best for the city.

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