The People of America's Oil and Natural Gas Indusry

Virginia: Yes to Offshore Drilling, More Energy

Mark Green

Mark Green
Posted October 15, 2013

Virginia is among Mid-Atlantic states under federal consideration for offshore seismic surveying for oil and natural gas. Policymakers should be mindful of a new poll showing that a wide majority of Virginians – 67 percent – favor offshore drilling, as well as increased production of domestic oil and natural gas overall.

Here’s a chart breaking down the response to Harris Interactive’s question on whether Virginia voters support or oppose offshore drilling:

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Reasons for this strong support are evident in other poll results:

  • 88 percent say producing more oil and natural gas here at home is important to them.
  • 88 percent agree that increased production of domestic oil and natural gas could help strengthen America’s energy security.
  • 90 percent agree that increased domestic production could lead to more U.S. jobs.
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  • 84 percent agree that more domestic oil and natural gas production could help lower energy costs for consumers.
  • 86 percent agree that increased domestic production could help stimulate our economy.
  • 82 percent agree that more U.S. oil and natural gas could benefit federal and state budgets through lease payments, royalty fees and other sources of revenue.

Virginia is important to watch on the question of offshore drilling. It’s an energy-diverse state that places a high value on protecting the environment and its coastal areas.

It’s also a state that has benefited from energy development. A recent report by PwC places Virginia among the top 15 states in the country in oil and natural gas-supported employment, 141,600 jobs. The industry’s impact in terms of labor income: $7.21 billion.  

Early next year the Obama administration is expected to decide whether to permit safe seismic surveying in the Mid-Atlantic area for the first time in 30 years. With 87 percent of our federal offshore acreage off limits to development (see below), collecting seismic data on oil and natural gas reserves off the Mid-Atlantic coast would be a significant step forward.

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According to the Harris poll, Virginians are for it.  Mike Ward, Virginia Petroleum Council executive director:

“Virginia has an opportunity to expand its energy portfolio both on and offshore. We could bring good-paying jobs to the Old Dominion and diversify our economy simply by allowing more oil and natural gas production to occur in our state and off our shores.”

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Mark Green joined API after a career in newspaper journalism, including 16 years as national editorial writer for The Oklahoman in the paper’s Washington bureau. Mark also was a reporter, copy editor and sports editor. He earned his journalism degree from the University of Oklahoma and master’s in journalism and public affairs from American University. He and his wife Pamela live in Occoquan, Va., where they enjoy their four grandchildren.