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* Mr. GOODLATTE. Mr. Speaker, each week, folks across Virginia and the nation are confronted with the rising cost of energy. However, 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 their energy supplies. 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 fact, there has been wide support for environmentally responsible energy production by the Governor of Virginia, the Virginia General Assembly and by many local governments in the Commonwealth.
* The Commonwealth of Virginia has made it clear that they want to access their energy resources. I believe that we should access these resources and we can do it while being environmentally responsible. Therefore, I rise today, with the majority of the Virginia Congressional Delegation, to introduce the ``Virginia Access to Energy Act,'' to give the Commonwealth access to these energy supplies. This legislation would start energy production off of Virginia's coast based on the Department of Interior's own proposal. This legislation simply requires that the Department of Interior proceed with their proposed Virginia lease sale no later than one year after passage of this legislation.
* Passage of this legislation and development of VA's OCS will significantly boost the economy of the Commonwealth of Virginia. It has been estimated by the U.S. Department of Interior that Virginia's OCS has 130 million barrels of recoverable oil and 1.14 trillion cubic feet of recoverable natural gas. This translates into a significant boost to 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. Additionally, the legislation sets up revenue-sharing for the Commonwealth for any future lease sales off of Virginia's coast.
* 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. This 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. I urge Congress to pass this legislation to allow Virginia to move towards a path of energy independence.
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