Jane Van Ryan
Posted December 9, 2009
In an op-ed from today's Richmond Times-Dispatch, former Congressman Charlie Stenholm (D-TX) describes the potential benefits of offshore drilling to Virginia. Citing studies, he says offshore development would create about 1,900 new jobs and generate nearly $19.5 billion in revenues to federal, state and local governments. About $3 billion would go into the Virginia treasury over a period of 30 years, where it could be used to pay for hospitals, schools, roads and public safety.
If the U.S. Interior Department allows the scheduled 2011 offshore Virginia leasing plan to move forward, the Commonwealth and the nation could add significant quantities of oil and natural gas to its energy resources and boost Virginia's economy:
"Maintaining Virginia's position as the No. 1 place to do business and as a state with a top-ranked economy lies in the ability to ensure jobs are plentiful and the state is economically stable. Supporting the Virginia Lease Sale and the development of Virginia's offshore energy resources helps to ensure this ranking is maintained.
"Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar needs to move forward with the Virginia Lease Sale, and he needs to do so now, so Virginia can lead the way to energy exploration off the Atlantic Coast."
Here's a footnote to Charlie's op-ed: Jobs created by offshore drilling don't require government spending that could increase the federal deficit. In fact, by generating jobs and revenues, energy development can help this country pay down the deficit and put Americans back to work.
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