WASHINGTON — When Doug Domenech looks out at the Atlantic Ocean, he sees oil and natural gas and jobs and revenue. Standing between him and those prizes are President Obama, the Navy and whales.
Mr. Domenech, Virginia’s secretary of natural resources, is undeterred. He and the state’s Republican governor, Bob McDonnell, have teamed up with Virginia’s two Democratic senators to try to do an end run around the president and put Virginia’s coast on the energy map through an act of Congress.
The state is trying to restore a lease sale for energy exploration that was canceled in 2010 after the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Its efforts have made Virginia the new epicenter of a campaign by energy companies to gain a toehold in the potentially vast resources hidden beneath the Atlantic.