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Introduction of the Virginia OCS Bill

Location: Washington, DC

INTRODUCTION OF THE VIRGINIA OCS BILL -- (Extensions of Remarks - August 01, 2008)


* Mr. GOODLATTE. Madam Speaker, each week, folks across Virginia and the Nation are confronted with the rising cost of energy, from the cost at the pump to soaring electric bills. Energy is vital to every sector of our economy, including homes, small businesses and industries. When energy supplies are tight, families and businesses are severely impacted by the resulting increase in energy costs.

* While the majority has succeeded in strangling any efforts to tap into traditional energy resources in America, our Nation's citizens have suffered. They have suffered with skyrocketing gas and food prices, and they have suffered from the fear that we are ever dependent on foreign, and sometimes hostile, sources of oil.

* While the leadership of the majority in Congress can't seem to get its act together to solve this problem for the Nation, as a representative of the people of Virginia, I cannot stand by and simply watch this spectacle. The time for action is now.

* Virginians understand that a major component in lessening energy costs is to produce more energy. In fact the topic of energy production on Virginia's Outer Continental Shelf, OCS, has received serious discussion by the Virginia General Assembly. I believe that Virginia should have every tool available to access its energy supplies. Unfortunately, a congressional moratorium on exploration of the

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OCS prevents the Commonwealth from having every tool available to address rising energy costs.

* Therefore, I rise to introduce legislation to allow Virginia to request oil and natural gas exploration activities off its coast. Should these exploration activities prove fruitful, then the legislation would allow Virginia to petition for drilling for these precious resources. This bill does not mandate that Virginia explore or drill off its coast. It simply removes the Federal Government's longstanding barriers to these activities. The final decision of whether to explore or drill is placed squarely where it should be--in the hands of the people of Virginia, through their State legislature and Governor.

* This legislation is not a cure all, and it does not fix the problem all across the country. However, Virginia's two Senators, one from each political party, have introduced similar legislation over in the Senate, and this is promising. In order to demonstrate how broad the support is for allowing States to decide this issue for themselves, I would encourage Members from all States to introduce similar legislation until a threshold of support is achieved that breaks the Democrat leadership's logjam on this issue and allows the will of the American people to be heard.

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