Madam Speaker, all across Virginia's Fifth District, people are suffering from skyrocketing fuel prices. As I have heard from families and small businesses and farmers who are seeing a negative impact on their bottom lines, we need to take action now if we are going to address this serious problem of skyrocketing fuel prices.
Instead of supporting policies that will help bring down the cost of gas, the Obama administration continues to actively block and delay domestic energy production, causing more pain at the pump, increasing our dependence on foreign oil, and destroying jobs. We only have to look at our soaring energy costs to see the consequences of these failed policies. Gas prices have doubled under the President's watch and are now hovering around $4 per gallon in Virginia; and as these rising prices continue to directly affect all central and southside Virginians and threaten our economic recovery, I believe we should take action now to address this crisis.
Last week, the House passed a bill that would expand American energy production and create jobs by reopening the oil exploration in the Gulf of Mexico and off the coast of Virginia that has been delayed or canceled by the Obama administration. It is estimated that offshore energy development in Virginia, which has bipartisan support, could lead to the production of more than half a billion barrels of oil and 2.5 trillion cubic feet of natural gas, and create nearly 2,000 jobs for our State. At a time like this, there is no reason to leave these resources untouched when it will help provide relief to all Americans.
This week, we are continuing our work to maximize American energy production by considering two bills that will end the White House's de facto moratorium on new American offshore energy production in a safe, responsible, and transparent manner. By reversing the administration's anti-energy policies and tapping into these resources to maximize our domestic energy supply, we will take a significant step towards lowering gas prices, reducing our dependence on foreign oil, and creating thousands of jobs for the Commonwealth and our Nation.
I urge support of H.R. 1229 and H.R. 1231 and hope that the Senate and the administration will join us in our efforts to move towards achieving true energy independence by approving all three energy bills the House of Representatives has considered thus far.