The People of America's Oil and Natural Gas Indusry

Virginia Is Ready for Offshore Drilling

Jane Van Ryan

Jane Van Ryan
Posted February 25, 2010


The Commonwealth of Virginia has signaled that it's ready for offshore energy development.

This week the state Senate passed a proposal that provides a roadmap for the allocation of offshore energy royalties and revenues, devoting 70 percent to transportation, 20 percent to alternative energy research and 10 percent to local governments.

After the Senate voted 21 to 19 to approve the plan, Gov. Robert F. McDonnell said, "There is bipartisan consensus on this issue," adding, "Offshore energy development has the support of this administration, the Democratic state Senate, the Republican House of Delegates, and U.S. Sens. Mark Warner (D) and Jim Webb (D)."

Separately on Tuesday, Virginia Beach's City Council voted 8-3 in favor of offshore exploration and production, citing the importance of energy development's contributions to the economy. "If there's going to be money made from drilling for gas, I want the city of Virginia Beach to benefit, period," Mayor Will Sessoms said in The Virginian-Pilot.

The U.S. Interior Department is considering a plan that would lease a portion of the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) about 50 miles off Virginia's coastline to energy companies, making Virginia the first East Coast state to produce offshore energy. Prior to the vote, Gov. McDonnell met with Interior Sec. Ken Salazar where the governor expressed his support for moving forward with the drilling plan in 2011.

"When we move forward in the years ahead," McDonnell said in a statement, "we will create thousands of new jobs for our citizens, produce hundreds of millions in new state revenue, and spur billions of investment in our Commonwealth. Virginia is ready to take the lead in helping move our nation closer towards energy independence while creating new good-paying jobs for our citizens. We will do this by instituting a comprehensive energy plan that utilizes oil, gas, nuclear, wind, solar, biomass and all our energy resources."

Hat tip to J.R. Hoeft at Bearing Drift!