Governor Bob McDonnell issued the following statement in support of HR 2231, passed today by the U.S. House of Representatives.
"I applaud the U.S. House of Representatives for once again standing, on a bipartisan basis, for American energy independence and for the American worker. I especially want to thank House Natural Resources Committee Chairman Doc Hastings for his continued focus and leadership on this critical issue. In March of 2010, President Obama approved moving forward with Virginia lease sale 220 which would have allowed for the safe development of oil and gas resources 50 miles offshore of Virginia. Subsequently the Interior Department postponed, then indefinitely cancelled, Virginia's sale and refused to include a sale off Virginia in the current 5 year plan. That action is unacceptable. HR 2231 will reinstate this sale and require Interior to reinitiate a new 5-year planning process. In addition, HR 2231 will provide all coastal states revenue sharing at 37.5%, the same as Gulf Coast States.
"In the strongest possible terms, I encourage the U.S. Senate to join the House in passing HR 2231 as quickly as possible.
"I also applaud Virginia Senators Mark Warner and Tim Kaine for their leadership in sponsoring The Virginia Outer Continental Shelf Energy Production Act (S 1024) in the U.S. Senate which achieves many of these same goals as HR 2231, as also does Congressman Scott Rigell's HR 1782, "The Virginia Jobs and Energy Act," currently co-sponsored by Virginia Representatives Morgan Griffith[R-VA9], Robert Hurt [R-VA5], and Rob Wittman [R-VA1].
"These bills include appropriate environmental protections, support military operations, and provide an equitable formula for sharing revenues between the state and federal governments. By ending unnecessary restrictions on the responsible exploration of Virginia's offshore natural resources, the federal government will allow Virginia to assume its potential role as a national leader in offshore energy exploration. A comprehensive 'all-of-the-above' energy strategy - including oil, gas, coal, wind, solar, tidal and other resources - will provide for energy security, create good new jobs and generate revenues that Virginia can use to address our major priorities such as transportation, education and public safety.
"The development of Virginia's offshore energy resources, and the provision of revenue sharing, is widely supported on a bipartisan basis by Virginia's General Assembly and our Congressional delegation. It is time for the Senate to join the House in making this common-sense policy a reality. Good jobs, economic growth and greater energy security depend upon it."