House Republican Whip Eric Cantor (R-VA) today issued the following statement in response to the President's announcement on offshore energy exploration and development:
"At a time when gas prices are back on the rise and people need to get back to work, developing and utilizing American energy resources is desperately needed. I am encouraged that the Administration has endorsed offshore energy exploration off our coast, which will not only help put Virginians back to work, but bring needed revenue to our state. It is clear that energy exploration and development in the Commonwealth has the potential to create thousands of new jobs, generate millions of dollars in needed revenue, and reduce our reliance on foreign oil.
"Unfortunately, the benefits that the Administration's decision will bring to Virginia will not be felt by many other states and regions. In 2008, the American people strongly supported the action taken by Congress to lift the moratorium on offshore drilling on not just the East Coast, but in the Gulf of Mexico, the Pacific Coast, and in Arctic Alaska as well. By standing in the way of developing these vast resources in an environmentally safe way, the Administration is actively blocking job creation and needed revenue at a time when our country needs it most. Domestic energy development is critical to our national and economic security, and was included in the Republican No-Cost Jobs Plan developed by the House Economic Working Group.
"While today's national conversation is focused on American energy exploration and development, many in Washington -- including Speaker Pelosi and President Obama -- continue to keep a job-killing cap-and-trade energy tax on the table. Their cap-and-tax policy would cost workers their jobs and have devastating effects upon working families -- particularly those in lower income households -- and small businesses, by greatly increasing costs. We must diversify energy sources for both our economic and environmental security, and the all-encompassing Republican American Energy Act shows that being conservative and green go hand in hand.
"Offshore energy exploration and development is long overdue in Virginia and overwhelmingly supported by the people of the Commonwealth. With bipartisan support from the people, our Governor, and our General Assembly, Virginia has laid the ground work to develop innovative and cost-effective energy solutions. I am committed to continue working with Secretary Salazar as well as our state and federal partners to ensure the safe and responsible production of American made energy and the creation of much needed jobs in the Commonwealth."