May 5, 2011
Gov. Bob McDonnell wrote the following OpEd today in the Richmond Times-Dispatch highlighting the importance of energy production off the coast of Virginia and calling on Congress to pass Chairman Hastings’ three energy bills (H.R. 1229
) to expand American energy production, lower costs and create jobs. The House is scheduled to vote on H.R. 1230
McDonnell: America's energy insecurity
By Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell
This week, families in Virginia are faced with filling their tanks with gas at an average price of $3.83 per gallon. Virginia businesses of all kinds are impacted by this expense, with no end in sight. The impact on virtually every good and commodity is significant, and it will be felt by everyone, poor and rich alike.
I believe that America indeed has an energy problem. We are simply too dependent on foreign sources of oil. More than half of the oil we use comes from imports. And, many of those barrels come from countries that are not our allies.
President Obama's recent acknowledgement that America needs oil to function in a modern economy highlights the need for the country to move forward in developing all our own American resources to their maximum potential. We are way behind, however, when it comes to utilizing offshore oil and natural gas.
Last month I wrote the president and said America needs his leadership at this time to make sure we are not reliant on whims of foreign oil cartels and armed revolutions in the Middle East and Africa.
America's energy future must be made more secure and must focus on domestic energy resources. Providing the leadership and guidance America needs at this time will calm markets. It would also reassure Americans that there is a vision and plan for America to become energy independent and not have our energy prices defined by the stability of Middle Eastern dictatorships, revolutions or armed conflicts.
The House of Representatives will soon be considering three important bills to get our country back on track. HR 1229, the "Putting the Gulf Back to Work Act"; HR 1230, the "Restarting American Offshore Leasing Now Act"; and HR 1231, the "Reversing President Obama's Offshore Moratorium Act." These bills all expand offshore energy production to create jobs, lower energy costs and generate revenue to help pay down the national debt. They also improve national security by reducing our dependence on foreign sources of oil.
I urge the Congress to pass these bills with strong support, and to provide royalties and revenues to the states.
The Restarting American Offshore Leasing Now Act expands American energy production and creates jobs by requiring the secretary of the interior to conduct previously approved oil and natural gas lease sales — in the Gulf of Mexico and off the shore of Virginia — that have been delayed or cancelled by the administration.
The Deepwater Horizon accident was devastating to the Gulf States. We know that lessons are being learned and that new safety standards have been put in place. In Virginia, we need nothing less than the safest standards. But, we must not allow this unfortunate accident to constrain American energy policy at the expense of future domestic energy production, jobs and rising costs that harm every American family and business.
The president has found time to call Saudi Arabia to ask it to produce more oil, and to tell Brazil that America is ready to be its best oil customer. I encourage him to call Secretary Salazar at the Interior Department and tell him to start developing American energy in America.
Virginia has a vision to become the energy capital of the East Coast, but we cannot achieve that goal, nor can we foster energy independence and national security, if we are reticent to set the prudent and needed policies that can impact the future of our nation and the livelihood of every American.
Bob McDonnell is the governor of Virginia.