US Democratic senators Mark Warner and Tim Kaine have introduced a new bill to lift the federal moratorium on natural oil and gas exploration and drilling off the coast of Virginia.

The Virginia Outer Continental Shelf Energy Production Act of 2013 introduced by the senators is similar to the legislation recently proposed in the US House by Republican Senator Scott Rigell of Virginia.

The ban, which will last through 2017, was established by President Barack Obama’s administration as an aftermath of the 2010 Deepwater Horizon Oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

Both senators have recommended to lift the ban in order to update old maps of Virginia’s offshore energy resources and announce leases for offshore gas and oil drilling in 2020.

Senator Warner was quoted by the Daily Press as saying, "Our legislation includes appropriate environmental protections and an equitable formula for sharing revenues between the state and federal governments."

"I believe that changes in the membership of the Senate after the 2012 elections have helped to produce a potentially more supportive atmosphere for our legislation," Warner added.