Leaders respond to drilling decision

Political leaders from both parties are expressing frustration with the Obama administration after the Department of Interior announced today that it will not include Virginia in its proposed final offshore oil and gas leasing program for 2012-2017, which covers leasing strategy and sales on the Outer Continental Shelf.

“Overwhelmingly, and on a bipartisan basis, Virginia local, state and federal elected officials have supported the development of energy resources off of Virginia’s coast. Offshore energy exploration and development would mean thousands of new jobs and millions in new revenue here in the Commonwealth. Virginians need the jobs and America needs the energy. Unfortunately, the plan announced today postpones any future energy development off the coast of Virginia until at least 2017. This delay is unacceptable the vast majority of the citizens of the Commonwealth,” Gov. Bob McDonnell said in a statement.

McDonnell, a Repubilcan, urged the administration to reconsider the final OCS plan. U.S. Sen. Jim Webb, a Democrat, repeated his call to the administration to keep the planned lease sale on schedule.

“I regret that the administration failed to include Virginia in its proposed final five-year lease plan,” said Webb.  “Energy exploration and subsequent production within the Virginia Outer Continental Shelf – if coupled with an equitable formula for sharing revenues between the state and federal governments – would boost domestic energy production, while benefiting the Commonwealth’s economy.”

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