Statement of Delegate Comstock on the President’s Offshore Energy Plan
White House Decision Allows Virginia to be the First State on Eastern Seaboard to Produce Natural Gas and Oil Offshore
Major Step Forward To Make Virginia
“The Energy Capital of the East Coast”
McLean, VA - Wednesday morning, President Barack Obama announced that Virginia will be the first state on the East Coast to explore for and produce natural gas and oil offshore. This session, the General Assembly passed and Governor McDonnell signed legislation to allow for exploration and drilling to go forward. Delegate Comstock patroned legislation that dedicated the royalties from drilling to go to our transportation needs. Delegate Comstock’s bill was incorporated into the legislation signed by Governor McDonnell that will now allow us to move forward on this important energy initiative. Coastal exploration and drilling also will lead to thousands of new jobs and billions in new revenue in Virginia and will be able to provide us with much needed transportation revenue for the long term.
Delegate Comstock issued the following statement:
“I applaud the Administration’s decision today to allow Virginia to move forward as the first state on the East Coast to explore for and produce energy offshore. The President’s decision to allow energy exploration off Virginia’s coast will mean thousands of new jobs, hundreds of millions in new state revenue and a long term source of revenue for our transportation needs – particularly in Northern Virginia. It will also make Virginia a key partner in moving the country towards energy independence.
“I am pleased that one of the first bills I introduced was H.B. 900, a bill which allocated 80% of future offshore royalties and revenues to transportation. This session, my bill was incorporated into H.B. 756, which passed with strong bipartisan support and allocated 80% of future offshore royalties and revenues to transportation, as well as providing the remaining 20% to the Virginia Coastal Energy Research Consortium, which researches and develops renewable energy solutions. This bill is a critical component for job creation, energy independence and a dedicated revenue stream for much needed transportation funds for Northern Virginia.
“In addition, last month, Delegate Stolle (patron of H.B. 756) and I sent a letter to Secretary Salazar that was signed by 51 of our colleagues urging Secretary Salazar and the Administration to move forward on allowing Virginia to begin environmentally-responsible offshore energy exploration and development. It is significant that the effort to move forward on environmentally safe offshore drilling has been a strong bipartisan effort. The Governor and the state legislature were joined by a majority of our congressional delegation in supporting this effort as well as both of our Senators. I applaud all the Republicans and Democrats in our Congressional delegation who have strongly advocated for offshore energy production.
"Now, in order to fully participate in the positive impact of offshore energy development, the Commonwealth must be included in all royalty and revenue sharing arrangements, in a manner equivalent to what the Gulf Coast states currently receive. Recently, Congressman Bob Goodlatte introduced legislation, with bipartisan support, to ensure revenue sharing. I join Governor McDonnell and my colleagues in the General Assembly in urging that our federal representatives expeditiously move forward to ensure Virginia receives our fair share of the revenues derived from our natural resources."