Virginia Petroleum Council criticizes Gov. McAuliffe’s call to reject offshore oil, gas leasing

Virginia Petroleum Council criticizes Gov. McAuliffe’s call to reject offshore oil, gas leasing

DailyEnergyInsider | August 21, 2017 | by Chris Galford 

Following a request from Gov. Terry McAuliffe that Virginia be excluded from a Trump Administration plan to lease oil and gas operations, the Virginia Petroleum Council has rebutted the governor’s comments with a call of fiscal benefit.

“A primary concern that must be satisfied in order for Virginia to be included in the leasing area is a revenue-sharing
agreement between participating Atlantic Coast states and the federal government,” McAuliffe wrote last week to the U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management. “Today we are no closer to resolving this issue than when I became governor.”

The Virginia Petroleum Council, however, claimed that the state could not afford not to get involved in the Interior Department’s new oil and gas leasing program. Virginia Petroleum Council Executive Director Miles Morin released a statement the next day that called the governor’s words “short-sighted.”

“The existing Hampton Roads port has the infrastructure, skilled workers, and maritime industries like shipbuilding and engineering, that can benefit Virginia consumers and workers, help strengthen our national security and provide the American energy our nation demands,” Morin said.

His words were backed by a number of different groups in the state, which sent a joint letter to the Interior Department’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management that explicitly asked for such expansions, urging more leasing, exploration and development of offshore oil and natural gas resources. Both the Virginia Chamber of Commerce the Virginia Manufacturers Association seem to hold similar mindsets, as both have fired off letters supporting offshore energy development for the state.

“It’s high time Virginians felt the benefits of harnessing our state’s vast energy resources,” Morin said. “As the Governor has previously stated, safe and responsible energy development off the coast of Virginia would bring millions, and potentially hundreds of millions, of dollars in investment and thousands of jobs to the Commonwealth. We support necessary environmental protections and state revenue sharing from energy development, and stand ready to work with Governor McAuliffe and the Virginia Congressional delegation to make safe offshore development a reality for Virginia consumers and workers through the next five year plan.”