Virginia’s Next Governor Puts Energy, Jobs at Top of Agenda

By December 30, 2009Energy

Governor-elect Bob McDonnell of Virginia has already taken a strong stance in support of the state’s workers, consumers and manufacturers by pushing the Department of Interior to expedite development of natural gas and oil resources on the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS). Writing that “Virginia is eager to get started,” McDonnell on Dec. 23 sent a letter to Secretary of Interior Ken Salazar asking that the state remain on the current five-year OCS leasing plan and that federal administrative process move forward immediately with Lease Sale 220, an area more than 50 miles off the coast of Virginia estimated to contain 130 million barrels of oil and 1.14 trillion cubic feet of natural gas.

From the governor-elect’s letter:

Any effort to remove or delay Virginia’s participation in the lease sale would significantly hamper our efforts to create jobs, eliminate much-needed new revenue, and undermine support for President Obama’s stated commitment to make the United States more energy secure.

The opportunity to explore and develop oil and natural gas resources off the coast of Virginia, miles out of sight from our beaches in an environmentally sound manner, is timely for both our nation and our Commonwealth. Like every other state, Virginia is struggling with the high unemployment that accompanies the current tough economic environment. Some parts of our state have an unemployment rate as high as 19 percent. Additionally, America needs secure and diverse energy sources that do not leave us dependent on foreign governments adverse to our national interests.

Governor-elect McDonnell makes his Administration’s goals — upon which he specifically, prominently campaigned  — quite clear to Secretary Interior and the public.

Offshore energy exploration and production will be a priority in my administration. I would like to work with you and the President to make Virginia an international leader in offshore energy exploration and production on the Atlantic coast. It is important for both our Commonwealth and our country. We also intend to aggressively pursue offshore renewable energy sources such as wind farms, and will be asking for your assistance at that appropriate time.

That’s welcome leadership on behalf of smart energy policy and economic growth.

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