Introducing The Virginia Access To Energy Act (VA Energy Act)
* Mr. GOODLATTE. Madam Speaker, for many years the Commonwealth of Virginia has seriously been considering the potential positive impact that Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) development off Virginia's coast would have on the Commonwealth. In 2008, it seemed that the Commonwealth would be able to make OCS development a reality when we in Congress, and then President George Bush, removed hurdles that had previously blocked access to energy resources located on the OCS. However, since that point, Virginia has been confronted with a series of regulatory road blocks. Although a lease sale has been proposed in Virginia's OCS, the first scheduled lease sale for energy development in the Atlantic, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar has continued to postpone this Virginia lease sale. This delay is happening despite the strong support for the lease sale by the Virginia Congressional Delegation, the Governor of Virginia, the Virginia General Assembly, and the citizens of Virginia. Madam Speaker, the voices of Virginians must be heard.
* To allow the Virginia lease sale to proceed we must remove the regulatory road blocks that are impeding development of Virginia's OCS, so I rise today with a bipartisan group of members of the Virginia Congressional Delegation to introduce the ``Virginia Access (VA) to Energy Act.'' This legislation would require that the Department of the Interior, at the request of Virginia's governor, proceed with the Virginia lease sale no later than one year after passage of this legislation. This will remove the regulatory hurdles that have impeded development and create a path for Virginia to become ``the Energy Capital of the East Coast.''
* Passage of this 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 2,578 full-time equivalent positions on an annual basis, induce capital investment of $7.84 billion, yield $644 million in direct and indirect payroll, and result in $271 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.
* Virginians understand that a major component in lessening energy costs is to produce more energy. I believe that Virginia should have 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. I urge Congress to pass this legislation to allow Virginia to move towards a path of energy independence.