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|Contact: Kaylin Minton
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Washington, DC - Today the House of Representatives passed the Offshore Energy and Jobs Act (H.R. 2231), which included language introduced by Representative Scott Rigell (VA-2) to pave the way for developing Virginia's coastal energy. The House also passed an amendment by Rigell to move forward seismic testing in the Atlantic. The bill now goes to the Senate for consideration.
House Passes Rigell's Initiative to Develop Virginia's Coastal Energy
Bi-partisan effort could create 18,000 jobs, diversify Hampton Roads economy
“This legislation will change the lives of so many Americans,” said Rigell, who noted that opening up Virginia's coastal energy could create 18,000 new jobs. “Americans are looking for opportunity, and that’s what this bill will give them. I encourage the Senate to pass, and the President to sign, this important legislation.”
H.R. 2231 includes Representative Rigell’s Virginia Jobs and Energy Act (H.R. 1782). Specifically, his provisions require Lease Sale 220 (the area off of Virginia’s coast that is believed to hold oil and natural gas) to be conducted within one year, the protection of Department of Defense military operations, and revenue sharing for the Mid-Atlantic states.
In addition, Rigell’s included language requires at least one additional lease sale be included within the Virginia Lease Sale Planning Area in each subsequent five year leasing plan. The legislation will diversify the local economy, which is heavily dependent on defense dollars, and generate tax revenue for schools and roads.
The effort to pursue Virginia’s offshore energy represents what Rigell calls “common ground” and enjoys broad bipartisan support from elected officials, civic groups, and business organizations in Hampton Roads. Democratic Senators Mark Warner and Tim Kaine and Rep. Rigell authored a joint op-ed in Thursday’s Virginian-Pilot touting the economic benefits of offshore energy:
“We support this effort because it would diversify our local economy and create thousands of jobs for Virginians while generating tax revenue to improve our schools and roads. It's also supported by the local NAACP, the Hampton Roads Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, a Republican governor, an independent mayor, two Democratic U.S. senators, and a Republican congressman. We can’t remember an issue that has attracted such broad, bipartisan support.”
Moving forward Virginia’s coastal energy to create jobs has been one of Rigell’s top legislative priorities since taking office in 2011. In the 112th Congress, his language to open up the Outer Continental Shelf off of Virginia was passed in the House but died in the Senate.
Recognizing the need to harness energy in a safe, environmentally responsible way, Rigell added, “I reject those who say we must choose between job creation and our environment. We’re Americans; we can develop needed American energy while meeting our deep moral obligation to leave our children with clean air, clean water, and clean soil.”
See Rigell’s June 27 floor speech on energy
Read the full op-ed from Rigell, Warner, and Kaine
Read the full text of the Offshore Energy and Jobs Act (H.R. 2231)
See the letters of support Rigell's legislation has received from the community