Jane Van Ryan
Posted March 11, 2010
Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell signed two bills yesterday to make his state the "Energy Capital of the East Coast."
HB 787 expresses strong support for oil and natural gas exploration and production 50 miles off Virginia's coast. HB 756 provides a formula for the distribution of revenues stemming from offshore energy development.
While signing the bills, Gov. McDonnell said:
"This is an issue with bipartisan consensus--both of Virginia's U.S. Senators, and most of our Congressmen agree, that environmentally-safe, offshore energy development is a matter of national and economic security...Virginia is ready--we hope the federal government will move forward and join us in saying 'yes.'"
The federal government must hold a lease sale offering Virginia's offshore areas to energy companies before drilling can commence. It's not clear when or if the administration will hold the Virginia Lease in 2011 as planned. Last week, Interior Sec. Salazar said the lease sales proposed for 2007-2012 could be rolled into a plan that would offer offshore leases in 2012-2017.
Today, Gov. McDonnell will speak at a summit on Virginia's energy future in Richmond. I plan to attend and will be sending out regular updates on Twitter.
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