Posted March 25, 2010
A bipartisan bill was introduced today by Virginia Congressmen Bob Goodlatte, Glenn Nye, Robert Wittman, Rick Boucher, Frank Wolf, Tom Perriello, Eric Cantor and Randy Forbes to take legislative action to move forward with Lease Sale 220, an oil and natural gas lease sale off Virginia's coast.
This sale was originally scheduled for 2011, but put on hold by the Interior Department.
We commend this bipartisan effort to allow oil and natural gas leasing in federal waters offshore Virginia, a policy that more than two in three citizens of the Commonwealth support.
Virginians-along with their governor, both of their Democratic senators, much of the congressional delegation and the city council of Virginia Beach, off which much of the development would take place-understand that offshore leasing and development can bring much-needed jobs and revenues to the state, especially with a workable revenue-sharing provision.
Already, the oil and natural gas industry supports over 143,000 jobs in Virginia, and it is poised to create many more - including well-paying exploration and production positions-if leasing off Virginia is allowed.
And developing oil and natural gas resources off Virginia's coast could generate nearly $19.5 billion in revenues for federal, state and local governments, according to ICF International, money that could be used to improve ailing roadways and fund education or other state critical needs.
The federal government estimates that the proposed Sale 220 area contains about 130 million barrels of oil and 1.14 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. But an ICF study that takes into consideration the newest technologies for finding resources estimates total federal resources offshore Virginia at half a billion barrels of oil and more than 2.5 trillion cubic feet of natural gas.
That's enough oil to fuel all 4 million cars in Virginia for more than four years and enough gas to heat all 3.2 million Virginia households for more than 11 years.
Now is the time to allow leasing, and environmentally responsible development, for the benefit of Virginia and the entire nation.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Mark Green joins API after spending 16 years as national editorial writer in the Washington Bureau of The Oklahoman newspaper. In all, he has been a reporter and editor for more than 30 years, including six years as sports editor at The Washington Times. He lives in Occoquan, Virginia, with his wife Pamela. Mark graduated from the University of Oklahoma with a degree in journalism and earned a masters in journalism and public affairs at American University. He's currently working on a masters in history at George Mason University, where he also teaches as an adjunct professor in the Communication Department.