J. Bryan Plumlee: Information is the key to energy independence | Guest Columnist

EACH OF US should be thankful for our Virginia Beach City Council’s common-sense decision to oppose offshore drilling. The heralded resolution was passed in June.

Whatever the reason behind each council member’s vote, and every member present except for John Moss voted in favor, it was a generational decision with positive effects that may be felt long after these politicians have left office.

So I say thank you for looking out for a beach community’s most noteworthy resource, the beach.

The decision is important news for those wanting to reduce the risk posed by our dependence on fossil fuels. Frankly, it was low-hanging fruit. Today, other than grandstanding by the “drill, baby, drill” politicians, almost everyone believes there is no good reason to risk our beaches and waterways when energy prices are so low and heading lower.

Seismic testing is just another reason to oppose the effort to drill in these waters.

However, there is more for the council to consider. Easier but important actions remain to be tackled in this realm. For instance, there is not a single ledger entry in our city budget specifically listing our collective electricity expenditure. Therefore, the public cannot determine the total amount our city government spends on electricity.

The information should be readily available. Further, the city does not make it easy to gauge its efforts to improve building efficiencies or reduce its energy footprint through investments in renewable energy sources.

In May, the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy awarded the city a rank of 36th among municipalities in its City Energy Efficiency Scorecard. The ACEEE ranked Boston and New York first and second respectively, and Richmond 26th. But, it found our city lacked full reporting.

The ACEEE wrote: “While quarterly reports are sent to all city…

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