Republican Virginia Governor-elect Bob McDonnell (R) has urged Interior Secretary Ken Salazar not to throw out a Bush-era plan to allow oil-and-gas drilling in federal waters off Virginia’s coast.
In the Dec. 23rd letter, released this week, McDonnell says:
I am requesting that Virginia remain in the current five-year plan and that the federal administrative process move forward with Lease Sale 220 immediately. Any effort to remove or delay Virginia’s participation in the lease sale would significantly hamper our efforts to create jobs, eliminate much-needed new revenue, and undermine support for President Obama’s stated commitment to make the United States more energy secure.
What’s in it for Virginia? According to a 2005 study done by Old Dominion University offshore natural gas production near Virginia would, over a 10-year period, “likely create at least 2,578 new jobs, induce capital investment of $7.84 billion, yield $644 million in direct and indirect payroll, and result in $271 million in state and local taxes. The study also estimated that there could be up to 500 million barrels of oil in this lease area – enough to fuel all four million cars in Virginia for more than four years.”
American Petroleum Institute President and CEO Jack Gerard was glad to hear it:
“It is time for the Interior Department to take action to allow expeditious leasing of federal oil and gas resources off Virginia’s coast. The governor–and the majority of Virginians–want such action. They understand that development of domestic resources will create good jobs for Virginians, help strengthen America’s energy security and generate billions of dollars in federal, state and local revenues, which will help pay for schools, public services, roads and safety. They know that the oil and natural gas industry, which supports more than 9.2 million American jobs, has a proven track record of environmentally sensitive development. We agree with Governor-elect McDonnell that the Interior Department should move ahead with the proposed Virginia federal lease in 2011, without delay.”