Robert Hurt Praises Offshore Energy and Jobs Act - NBC29 WVIR Charlottesville, VA News, Sports and Weather

Robert Hurt Praises Offshore Energy and Jobs Act

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Fifth District Representative Robert Hurt says a bill passed by the House of Representatives Friday morning will create hundreds of thousands of jobs in Virginia. 

The "Offshore Energy and Jobs Act" would allow for oil exploration and potential drilling off Virginia's coast. The passage of the bill comes one month after Democratic senators Mark Warner and Tim Kaine introduced similar legislation in the U.S. Senate. 

"There is strong bipartisan support for this, the senators from Virginia have both expressed support for this, and it's my hope that they will use their influence within the United States Senate to move this legislation," Hurt said.

Governor Bob McDonnell praised the bill's passage Friday afternoon. Meanwhile, the Obama administration firmly opposes the plan, saying the bill would undermine the nation's existing offshore development strategy.

The Southern Environmental Law Center in Charlottesville also opposes the bill. You can read the center's statement, as well as releases from McDonnell and Hurt, below.


Office of Congressman Robert Hurt

Robert Hurt Votes To Expand Energy Development, Create Virginia Jobs 

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Robert Hurt (R-Virginia) today released the following statement after voting in favor of H.R. 2231, the Offshore Energy And Jobs Act, which expands energy development and would lead to lower energy prices, economic growth, strengthened national security, and the creation of over one million American jobs, including thousands of jobs in Virginia: 

"As I travel throughout Virginia's 5th District, I consistently hear that the cost of energy continues to have a significant negative impact on our small businesses, our farmers, and our families. Not only are Americans suffering from high prices at the gas pump, but high fuel prices have triggered higher prices across the board, making it more difficult for families to make ends meet. 

"Today, the House of Representatives acted to encourage the creation of new jobs and lighten the burden on our hardworking families and small businesses. Reopening the lease sales off of the coast of Virginia enjoys broad, bipartisan support, and it is time that the Administration removes itself as a barrier to job creation and an obstacle to our energy independence. 

"The House will continue to lead on creating a sensible domestic energy policy, and it is my hope that the Senate and the President will join us."

Background Information

The President has effectively re-imposed an offshore drilling moratorium and imposed a lease plan that keeps 85 percent of our offshore areas off-limits to American energy production. H.R. 2231 requires the Secretary of the Interior to conduct oil and natural gas lease sales that have been delayed or canceled by the Obama Administration. The bill would generate $1.5 billion in new revenue over ten years according to the Congressional Budget Office and could create up to 1.2 million long-term jobs. This legislation could create 2,000 new jobs and produce more than 750 million barrels of oil and 6.5 trillion cubic feet of natural gas in Virginia, where responsible offshore energy production has strong bipartisan support. Robert spoke in support of H.R. 2231 on the House Floor, which you can view here.



Office of Governor Bob McDonnell

Statement of Governor McDonnell on Passage of the Offshore Energy and Jobs Act (HR 2231) 

RICHMOND— Governor Bob McDonnell issued the following statement in support of HR 2231, passed today by the U.S. House of Representatives. 

"I applaud the U.S. House of Representatives for once again standing, on a bipartisan basis, for American energy independence and for the American worker.   I especially want to thank House Natural Resources Committee Chairman Doc Hastings for his continued focus and leadership on this critical issue.  In March of 2010, President Obama approved moving forward with Virginia lease sale 220 which would have allowed for the safe development of oil and gas resources 50 miles offshore of Virginia.   Subsequently the Interior Department postponed, then indefinitely canceled, Virginia's sale and refused to include a sale off Virginia in the current 5 year plan.   That action is unacceptable.  HR 2231 will reinstate this sale and require Interior to reinitiate a new 5-year planning process.  In addition, HR 2231 will provide all coastal states revenue sharing at 37.5%, the same as Gulf Coast States.   

"In the strongest possible terms, I encourage the U.S. Senate to join the House in passing HR 2231 as quickly as possible. 

"I also applaud Virginia Senators Mark Warner and Tim Kaine for their leadership in sponsoring The Virginia Outer Continental Shelf Energy Production Act (S 1024) in the U.S. Senate which achieves many of these same goals as HR 2231, as also does Congressman Scott Rigell's HR 1782, "The Virginia Jobs and Energy Act," currently co-sponsored by Virginia Representatives Morgan Griffith[R-VA9], Robert Hurt [R-VA5], and Rob Wittman [R-VA1]. 

"These bills include appropriate environmental protections, support military operations, and provide an equitable formula for sharing revenues between the state and federal governments.  By ending unnecessary restrictions on the responsible exploration of Virginia's offshore natural resources, the federal government will allow Virginia to assume its potential role as a national leader in offshore energy exploration. A comprehensive 'all-of-the-above' energy strategy - including oil, gas, coal, wind, solar, tidal and other resources - will provide for energy security, create good new jobs and generate revenues that Virginia can use to address our major priorities such as transportation, education and public safety. 

"The development of Virginia's offshore energy resources, and the provision of revenue sharing, is widely supported on a bipartisan basis by Virginia's General Assembly and our Congressional delegation. It is time for the Senate to join the House in making this common-sense policy a reality. Good jobs, economic growth and greater energy security depend upon it."



Statement from the Southern Environmental Law Center:

The Southern Environmental Law Center is disappointed with today's House of Representatives vote to mandate offshore drilling off Virginia's coast.  The legislation that passed threatens coastal economies and ecosystems that rely on clean water, from tourism to fishing.  Congress has done nothing to address the safety and environmental concerns raised by the Deepwater Horizon disaster in the Gulf more than three years ago – a disaster that claimed lives and caused billions of dollars in damage. Rather than carefully considering and addressing the possible threats from offshore drilling, this bill forces a headlong rush into more drilling.

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