President Obama cleared the way for offshore drilling off America’s coastlines today. This will also allow for the sales two years from now. According to The Washington Post, Obama said:
“Given our energy needs, in order to sustain economic growth and produce jobs and keep our businesses competitive, we’re going to need to harness traditional sources of fuel even as we ramp up production of new sources of renewable, homegrown energy,” Obama said. “So today we’re announcing the expansion of offshore oil and gas exploration — but in ways that balance the need to harness domestic energy resources and the need to protect America’s natural resources.”
We can thank the hard work of Governor Bob McDonnell, both of Virginia’s U.S. Senators, and some members of Virginia’s Congressional Delegation for taking leadership on this issue.
McDonnell released the following statement upon learning of Obama’s decision.
“I thank the President and Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar for ensuring Virginia will be the first state on the East Coast to explore for and produce energy offshore. The President’s decision to allow energy exploration off Virginia’s coast will mean thousands of new jobs, hundreds of millions in new state revenue and tens of billions of dollars in economic impact for the Commonwealth. It will also help our nation take a further step towards energy independence. Environmentally-safe offshore energy exploration and production is good for Virginia workers, the Virginia economy and national security. Just this session the General Assembly passed, with bipartisan support, legislation I requested to authorize offshore oil and gas exploration and drilling and to allocate 80% of revenues to transportation and 20% to green energy research and development.
The effort to ensure that Virginia stayed on track to hold an offshore lease sale as expeditiously as possible has been a bipartisan one at the federal level as well. I want to specifically thank Senator Mark Warner, Senator Jim Webb and Congressman Eric Cantor for their leadership and advocacy on the issue. I also want to thank all the Republicans and Democrats in our Congressional delegation who have strongly advocated for offshore energy production.
With today’s announcement, oil and gas can be produced in an environmentally-safe manner 50 miles off Virginia’s coast. Virginians will benefit from the thousands of jobs that will be created and the economic activity and development that will accompany this vital industry’s arrival in the state. However, to fully participate in the positive impact of offshore energy development, the Commonwealth must be included in all royalty and revenue sharing arrangements, in a manner equivalent to what the Gulf Coast states currently receive. Congressman Bob Goodlatte has already introduced legislation, with bipartisan support, to ensure revenue sharing. I urge our federal representatives to immediately move forward in ensuring Virginia receives our fair share of the revenues derived from our natural resources. I am confident that the United States Congress will act appropriately and expeditiously to ensure this occurs.
Offshore energy production is one part of an “all of the above” approach to ensuring energy security. It is an important component of the comprehensive energy policy that we must enact to move towards greater domestic energy security. We will also do more in Virginia to promote and produce other sources of energy in our borders, including wind, solar, biomass, coal and nuclear. Today’s announcement means future new jobs for Virginians and much-needed revenue for our Commonwealth. Again, I applaud the President for his decision, and thank all the Virginia leaders from both parties who have worked together to make this announcement possible.”
Lieutenant Governor Bill Bolling also made a statement regarding the decision saying:
“Today’s decision is a significant next step in making Virginia the ‘Energy Capital of the East Coast’ and will help spur our economic recovery. It will also help Virginia address the need for improved transportation infrastructure, create thousands of new jobs and bring in hundreds of millions in desperately needed revenue for Virginia. I am confident that our offshore energy resources will become a critical economic development tool for Virginia as we move forward.
“I would like to thank President Barack Obama and Secretary Ken Salazar for allowing Virginia to move forward with the 2012 lease sale and become the first state on the East Coast to explore for and ultimately produce offshore oil and natural resources. This decision will help bring the nation closer to energy independence and provide a significant economic development and job creation boost to Virginia.
“I want to congratulate Governor McDonnell and our federal partners in the Senate and House of Representatives on their successful and tireless efforts to encourage the Obama Administration to allow the lease sale to move forward. While I am a long-time supporter of developing our offshore energy resources and active advocate to the Obama Administration to keep Virginia in the 2012 lease sale, Virginia was ultimately successful because of broad bi-partisan support from our elected officials, businesses and citizens.
“Lastly, I would like to thank Governor McDonnell, the General Assembly and other stakeholder groups for working to pass legislation in support of Virginia’s offshore energy exploration. The legislative authorizations passed this session set the stage for the development of these resources and will help Virginia address a number of critical challenges in the future.”
RPV Chairman Pat Mullins said:
“President Obama’s announcement on offshore drilling is a victory for the Commonwealth and the entire country,” Mullins said.
“For the first time in decades, we will be able to tap the massive reserves of energy just over the horizon, lessening our dependence of foreign oil,” he said. “Exploration will also bring new, high-paying jobs to our economy, and will eventually bolster our transportation system with royalties from drilling.”
“Today’s announcement wouldn’t have happened without the leadership of Governor Bob McDonnell and a bipartisan majority in the Virginia General Assembly. While past governors have opposed drilling, Governor McDonnell pushed forward, letting Washington, D.C., know in no uncertain terms that Virginia was ready to become the Energy Capital of the East Coast,” Mullins said.
“Earlier this year, while some opponents in the Virginia Senate said offshore drilling was a ‘fantasy’ and ‘a train going nowhere,’ Governor McDonnell and a bipartisan team of legislators pressed on, working with Democrats and Republicans in Washington to make this new opportunity a reality,” he said. “The Governor’s team fought hard for this, and now we will all reap the benefits.”
“I congratulate Governor McDonnell and the bipartisan group that made this day possible for their foresight and persistence. This is truly a momentous day for the Commonwealth of Virginia,” he said.
Offshore drilling will bring more employment opportunities to Virginia and help boost the economy with new incentives, etc.