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For many years the Commonwealth of Virginia has seriously been considering the potential positive impact that oil and gas exploration off Virginia’s coast would have on our state. Just two years ago, it seemed that Virginia would be able to take this first step toward energy independence, when Congress removed the hurdles that had previously blocked access to the energy resources located on the Outer Continental Shelf, also known as the OCS. However, since that point, Virginia has been confronted with a series of regulatory road blocks despite the strong support for a VA lease sale to begin OCS development by the Virginia Congressional Delegation, the Governor, the Virginia General Assembly, and the citizens of Virginia.
For this reason, I recently introduced legislation, with the support of a bipartisan group of Members of Congress from Virginia, that requires the Department of Interior, at the request of Virginia’s governor, to proceed with the Virginia lease sale no later than one year after passage of this legislation. My legislation, the ‘Virginia Access to Energy Act’ will remove any regulatory hurdles that may impede development and create a path for Virginia to become ‘the Energy Capital of the East Coast.’
In addition to setting Virginia on the path to energy independence, passage of my legislation and development of VA’s OCS will significantly boost the economy of the Commonwealth of Virginia. In fact, some estimates have shown that development of Virginia’s OCS will create over 2,500 full-time equivalent positions on an annual basis, induce capital investment of $7.8 billion, yield nearly $645 million in direct and indirect payroll, and result in over $270 million in state and local taxes.
While exploration activities alone will infuse the Virginia economy with a significant amount of new capital, this legislation will also authorize any qualified revenues generated by the lease sales to be shared between the federal government and the Commonwealth of Virginia for such things as federal deficit reduction, and various state projects including education, transportation, tax reductions, coastal and environmental restoration, energy infrastructure and projects, alternative energy development, and energy efficiency and conservation.
Virginians understand that a major component in lessening energy costs is to produce more energy. My legislation, the Virginia Access to Energy Act, is an important component to any long-term strategy to reduce our dangerous dependence on foreign oil. Most importantly the legislation ensures that Virginia has every tool available to access its energy supplies, while at the same time creating thousands of jobs for Virginians and infusing the Commonwealth with new capital growth.
To contact me about this or any other matter, please visit my website at www.goodlatte.house.gov.