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July 27, 2011 Published in EcoNews, From Richmond

McDonnell Administration Continues Advocacy Of Offshore Oil And Gas Exploration And Development

The McDonnell Administration continued its ongoing efforts to open up offshore energy exploration and production off the coast of Virginia with a pair of recent actions. Today, Virginia Secretary of Natural Resources Doug Domenech testified before the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Natural Resources on “State Perspectives on Offshore Revenue Sharing.” Domenech’s testimony comes one week after McDonnell and five other governors sent a letter to the U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources supporting revenue sharing from energy generation and production in the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS). The U.S. Senate is currently considering The Virginia Outer Continental Shelf Energy Production Act of 2011, introduced by Senators Jim Webb and Mark Warner, which would: open up Virginia’s coast to offshore oil and natural gas exploration and production; increase the area open to that exploration and production; and, provide the Commonwealth with 50% of all leasing revenues derived from offshore operations. The U.S. House Committee on Natural Resources may consider proposals for offshore revenue sharing legislation.

McDonnell has long supported offshore exploration off the coast of Virginia as well as revenue sharing with all coastal states who allow leasing as part of his “all the above” approach to helping Virginia become the “Energy Capital of the East Coast.” Over the last year he has advocated for the moratorium on Lease Sale 220 off the coast of Virginia to be lifted. In addition, to position Virginia for offshore exploration and development, during the 2010 General Assembly Session he signed HB 787, which provides a clear statement of the Commonwealth in support of oil and natural gas exploration, development, and production 50 miles or more off Virginia's coast. He also signed HB 756, which will allocate 80% of future offshore royalties and revenues to transportation and the remaining 20% to the Virginia Coastal Energy Research Consortium.

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