AS DEBATES OF climate change and health care engulf America, we cannot overlook a recent anniversary marking one lost year and counting. When Congress let expire the moratoria on oil and natural gas exploration in coastal waters, the economic possibilities of new jobs, trillions of revenue dollars and bolstered energy security were finally within national reach. But thanks to governmental slow-pedaling, America now greets the anniversary of this major policy change with nothing but outturned pockets and continued delay.Del. Saxman has been a leader on this issue and continues to look for ways to free Virginia and America from their dependence on foreign oil. He ends his op-ed with an urgent yet hopeful thought:
During our year of inaction, more than 200 oil and natural gas discoveries have been reported across five continents in countries, including Australia, Brazil, Norway and Ghana. Just for the first half of this year, according to HIS Cambridge Energy Research Associates, those new discoveries have totaled around 10 billion barrels of oil.
On the local level, Virginia has an unprecedented opportunity to be the first state along the Atlantic to benefit from the development of offshore oil and natural gas resources. Should this happen, the Commonwealth stands to gain more than 1,888 new jobs if these areas were developed. It’s the type of solution the state needs to overcome its 6.9 percent unemployment rate. Offshore development in Virginia could also generate $19.5 billion in federal, state and local revenues. Over the life of the resource, ICF International estimated, Virginia’s share of production from the Outer Continental Shelf could total half a billion barrels of oil and 2.5 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. That energy, straight from Virginia’s shores, would provide part of America’s energy solution, as our nation attempts to stay competitive in the face of rapid globalization and increased competition for resources.
Global competition is more cutthroat than ever. To stay relevant, America must have the oil and natural gas that makes our economy tick. Renewables are important, but cannot offer the promise of oil and natural gas. Today’s exploration operations are safe, clean and provide the energy our nation needs to right itself.Off-shore drilling. It's past time.
We can be the first state along the Atlantic to welcome the search for oil and natural gas resources or we can continue pushing off what may be the inevitable. We have the opportunity. We need the energy. Now all we need is for the current administration to have the desire to do what’s best for our economic and energy security.