Sooner or Later, Someone Needs to Say Yes to More OCS Energy

By February 25, 2009Energy

One of the nation’s leading legislative advocates of developing America’s abundant offshore energy resources is state Sen. Frank Wagner (R-Virginia Beach), A member of the NAM Board of Directors, Wagner testified yesterday in his capacity as a lawmaker at a U.S. House Natural Resources Committee hearing, “”Offshore Drilling: State Perspectives.”‘

Very solid arguments, reflecting the high level of interest in Virginia is the economic activity that would result from Outer Continental Shelf oil and natural gas development. Senator Wagner emphasized that OCS energy is just part of a comprehensive energy strategy. From  Wagner’s testimony:

We in Virginia recognize that there is no one silver bullet to solve our nation’s energy crisis. The solution must be thought of as a silver shotgun shell, with each pellet as important as the next.
Opening additional OCS area is one pellet. Expansion of nuclear power and revisiting prior decisions on breeder reactors is another. Conservation, energy efficiency, development of renewables and alternative energies are pellets, and the list goes on.

Three years ago in Virginia we passed a comprehensive energy plan, which I authored, with bipartisan support. The Virginia Energy Plan includes all the forms of energy just mentioned as well as the expansion of energy research and development.

However, we do not hold the keys, Mr. Chairman. You in Washington do. Please, Mr. Chairman, unlock the doors. One has been opened with MMS action to date with regards to Virginia’s OCS. Open that door for other states that want to follow Virginia. Facilitate the expansion of our nuclear industry. Open up more areas for energy development. Continue to expand the good work to date on funding energy R&D. Expand our efforts to use our existing energy more wisely. We as a nation are at a critical juncture where the health of our economy and the health of our planet are intertwined.

The MMS action to date Senator Wagner mentions is the MMS five-year leasing plan with potential lease sales occurring as early as 2012.

Also in the committee record is a letter from Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine (and new DNC Chairman) to Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, asking Interior to postpone the proposed Lease Sale 220 given Salazar’s decision to extend public comment on the MMS plan for OCS energy development.

Officialdom has been saying no to energy security for years and years and years now. Last year represented a major breakthrough in the expiration of the Congressional moratorium on expanded OCS drilling and President Bush’s decision to end the executive order banning it. The state is set for action, so let’s act.

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