Congressman Morgan Griffith (R-VA) issued the following statement today after House passage of H.R. 1230, the Restarting American Offshore Leasing Now Act. This bill would expand American energy production and create jobs by requiring the Secretary of the Interior to conduct oil and natural gas lease sales in the Gulf of Mexico and offshore Virginia that have previously been delayed or canceled.
"With gas prices pushing $4 per gallon in Southwest Virginia, taking action to reduce the pain at the pump is critical. House passage of H.R. 1230 is a welcome step in opening up America's domestic energy resources for production. For years, legislators in Virginia, including myself, have been urging the federal government to lift the moratorium for energy exploration off the coast. According to a study by the Southeast Energy Alliance, offshore development in Virginia could create nearly 2,000 jobs and produce more than half a billion barrels of oil. However, the Virginia lease sale has currently been delayed until at least 2017. We cannot afford to wait six more years to begin reducing the costs of energy and lessening our dependence on foreign oil.
"H.R. 1230 would move us forward by requiring four offshore lease sales by 2012; one off of the coast of Virginia and three in the Gulf of Mexico. This is an opportunity to restart America's offshore production. We can increase our energy security and create good paying jobs, but we must remove barriers to production now. Will the Senate vote for more American oil? Stay tuned."