Thursday, May 05, 2011

Drill-Jobs-Drill-Jobs-Drill-Jobs

Governor Bob McDonnell Calls for Virginia Offshore Energy Development
As Gas Prices Continue to Rise, Governor Offers Strong Support for Congressional Legislation That Would Open Commonwealth to Offshore Oil and Gas Exploration and Production

RICHMOND – During his visit to a Richmond-area gas station this afternoon, Governor Bob McDonnell discussed rising gas prices and the need for more domestic energy production, including production of oil and natural gas off of Virginia’s coast. The Governor specifically highlighted two bills before Congress that would restart offshore energy exploration and production: H.R. 1230 and H.R. 1372. Governor McDonnell was joined at the event by Delegate Jimmie Massie (R-Henrico), small business owners, and representatives from the energy industry.

Speaking about America’s domestic energy policy, Governor McDonnell commented, “America has an energy policy problem. Today, Virginia businesses and families are paying, on average, $3.88 per gallon for gasoline. That’s up $1.00 from a year ago. The Energy Information Administration estimates that gasoline will cost the average U.S. household $1,210 more this year than in 2009. That is money that could be spent by families on education, groceries and vacations. Instead it is money being spent at the pump. The pain at the pump is the result of many factors, one of which is the result of our ongoing dependence on foreign sources of oil. That is why I strongly support increasing domestic energy production from every possible source, including wind, solar, biomass, nuclear, oil and natural gas. A key part of that effort should be the environmentally responsible development and production of oil and natural gas off of Virginia’s shores.”

Governor McDonnell continued, “Last month I sent a letter to President Obama outlining the steps we can take now to ensure we have a stable and reliable supply of oil and natural gas. The House of Representatives will soon be considering two pieces of legislation that will restart offshore energy production in Virginia and in the Gulf, and I have urged the President to support this legislation. By allowing for offshore energy exploration in the Gulf of Mexico, and requiring the lease sale off the Atlantic Coast to move forward, we will be well on our way to restarting offshore energy production which will create jobs, lower energy costs, and generate revenue to help pay down the national debt. This legislation is essential to getting American energy production back on track. We must move forward in developing our own domestic resources to their maximum potential. America cannot afford to keep turning a blind eye to rising gas prices, which are detrimental to job creation, economic growth, and most importantly, our national security. When it comes to domestic energy production we must have an “all of the above” approach. That is why I strongly support efforts to develop our offshore wind resources, bring more nuclear power online, continue to utilize our vast coal deposits, and carry forth the ongoing research and development of renewable energy sources like solar power and biomass. When it comes to energy we must utilize every resource available. We know that oil and natural gas is available off our coast and we know we can develop those resources in a safe, smart and environmentally responsible manner. We should act immediately.”

Congressman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA), who is carrying H.R. 1372, noted, “Virginians understand that a major component in lessening energy costs is to produce more energy. I believe that Virginia should have every tool available to access its energy supplies. That is why legislation like the one the Congress is considering today, that would provide for access to Virginia's energy supplies as well as legislation that I have introduced that would provide for revenue sharing with the Commonwealth for its energy resources are vital to the Commonwealth of Virginia. In addition to helping us become energy independent, access to these resources will help create thousands of jobs for Virginians and infuse the Commonwealth with new capital growth.”

Delegate Jimmie Massie, who is also a small businessman, added, “Last week I had dinner with other business leaders and I ask them: ‘How is business? How are your sales doing?’ Their response last week was not good. Every one of them told me they had seen a noticeable drop in their sales over the past month as gas prices have been increasing, and, as a result, consumer’s disposable incomes have been constantly declining. We must act now to lower gas prices and develop a comprehensive energy policy, to curb our increasing gas costs that are creating a severe cash flow squeeze and destroying jobs.”

Randy Seibert, President & CEO of Manchester Marketing, Inc, remarked, “Just like rising oil prices affect our customers, even gas stations are impacted because we have to pay more for gas too. For example, one year ago it cost me about $23,000 to purchase a truckload of gas. This morning, that same delivery to this station cost us about $33,000. This is creating cash flow problems for businesses like ours across the Commonwealth.”

Mike Ward, Executive Director of the Virginia Petroleum Council, concluded, ““The oil and natural gas industry stands ready – and waiting – to do more to help grow the economy, create American jobs, and provide the energy this country needs. The energy markets are constantly looking for signals to guide today’s investment strategies for producing tomorrow’s energy. Regrettably, the signals this administration has been sending encourage less investment in future domestic energy production. Our economy will still need oil and natural gas for decades to come. America must pursue policies that encourage responsible development of our resources instead of relying on imported energy from unstable parts of the world.”

Mike O’Connor, President & CEO of the Virginia Petroleum, Convenience and Grocery Association, said, “Our members are impacted in much the same way as our customers. The only real difference is in the size of our tanks. A year ago it cost $54,000 to supply a station with 20,000 gallons of storage capacity. Today that same delivery costs the station owner $76,200. As a result, credit lines are stretched to their limits, which has brought new investment in the petroleum marketing industry to a halt.”

The letter Governor McDonnell sent to President Obama is attached to this press release. To read Governor McDonnell’s op-ed in today’s Richmond Times-Dispatch outlining the critical need to develop our domestic energy resources, please visit: http://www2.timesdispatch.com/news/2011/may/05/tdopin02-mcdonnell-americas-energy-insecurity-ar-1017440/

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