The Nov. 9 news story “Offshore drilling plan excludes Virginia” noted that the Interior Deparytment’s just-released five-year plan for offshore drilling postpones oil and gas exploration off the coast of Virginia. As a Virginian, I applaud the Obama administration for this decision.

We are still learning about the consequences of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill on the Gulf Coast. The last thing Virginia needs is to allow Big Oil to do the same thing to us. I would be horrified to see oil washing up on the beach I grew up on, and everyday life would become dull if I couldn’t enjoy the surf because the water was polluted.

But even more important, offshore drilling would jeopardize the coastal economy that my family and I depend on. Virginia has a $19 billion-a-year tourism industry and a $185 million-a-year commercial fishing industry. The many thousands of jobs these industries support, including my own in an oceanfront hotel, would be in danger if drilling were allowed here.

We need jobs, and we need better energy options, but that doesn’t mean we have to make reckless decisions.

Virginia has tremendous potential to become a leader in clean-energy technologies such as offshore wind. That is the smart and safe choice — not more drilling.

Susan Priddy, Virginia Beach