Virginia Beach Chapter
The Virginia Beach Chapter recently celebrated two big victories. First, the chapter worked to successfully defeat legislation that would have allowed gas and oil exploration off their coast. The drilling bill, sponsored by Sen. Frank Wagner, R-Virginia Beach, would have ordered the state’s lobbyists to work with the congressional delegation and federal agencies to lift a 22-year-old federal ban on offshore gas and oil exploration or drilling on both the east and west coasts. The Virginia measure received little attention during the legislature’s six- week session, partly because the bill never went through either House or Senate environmental committees. The bill originally called for lobbying efforts to lift the moratorium just on natural gas surveying off the state’s coastline. After it cleared the Senate, however, Wagner had it amended in a House committee to take the measure a step further— to permit surveying, exploration and drilling for natural gas, without specifically prohibiting oil drilling. The Virginia Beach Chapter immediately took action with the creation of a letter writing campaign, co-sponsorship of a radio PSA and participation in media events. These efforts helped lead to Governor Mark R. Warner vetoing the bill, which was the only bill Warner vetoed out of the hundreds sent to his desk during this year’s General Assembly session. “It was a last-minute-get- the-word-out-fast type of thing,” said Virginia Beach chapter chair Ari Lawrence. “Apparently it worked. We applaud the Governor's decision.”
The other victory is creation and approval of a Surfrider Foundation Virginia license plate. The chapter led a grassroots effort by identifying a state delegate to carry the bill to the General Assemmbly and achieving the goal of 350 prepaid applications and/or $3500 worth of fees within 180 days of the approval date.
Other chapter activities:
- In conjunction with area students and the City of Virginia Beach, chapter activists organized a major storm-drain stenciling event to mark 2,000 storm drains in one day.
- The VB chapter has joined together with the local E.S.A, Christian Surfers, and Surfing Access For Everyone (S.A.F.E.) to form the VB Surfing Partnership. The partnership meets quarterly to discuss local issues and works together to promote a positive surfing atmosphere throughout the local surfing community. The partnership has proven quite influential when working together and approaching city officials about surfing issues.
- The partnership has already helped change local surfing rules and regulations and has also provided the method for which the surfing zones are designated in Croatan.
- The partnership seeks to change Croatan and other popular public beach access parking hours such that parking is allowed from sunrise to sunset versus only during specific daylight hours.
- This summer the partnership will join together to develop and promote a positive awareness campaign, which aims to remind all beach users to have fun and be respectful of others, the ocean, and the surf.
- The chapter plans to hold another Youth Day Event. Last year's event was a huge success. The event provides children the opportunity to learn first hand the effects of littering on and around the beach. The event was sponsored by Wave Riding Vehicles and Whalebone Surf Shop. The children participated in a huge beach cleanup and competed to find the largest, smallest, strangest, and most amount of trash. All of the participants received prizes from the sponsors, had a ton of fun, and learned valuable lessons.
Check out the Virginia Beach Chapter blog at http://vb.surfrider.org/
You can contact the Virginia Beach Chapter via email at firstname.lastname@example.org
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