US agency seeking public's comments Wednesday on oil, gas exploration off Virginia's coast

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NORFOLK, Virginia — The federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management is seeking the public's say on the prospect of oil and gas drilling off Virginia's coast.

The agency has scheduled a public meeting Wednesday in Norfolk to collect comments on the Obama administration's plan to open Atlantic waters to drilling. Waters off Virginia are included.

BOEM's visit to Virginia is expected to attract a wide array of opinions.

The Hampton Roads Chamber of Commerce, for instance, will conduct a news conference to underscore the bipartisan support for drilling. The state's political establishment supports offshore energy exploration.

But environmentalists say drilling is not worth the risk to the state's coast. The Sierra Club says it will push that message and stage a mock oil spill to underscore its concerns.

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