McDonnell “disappointed” over Obama oil drilling decision

The Obama administration delivered energy independence and job creation a blow today when it failed to include the eastern Gulf, the Atlantic and the Pacific in the next five-year leasing plan.

Governor Bob McDonnell, a tireless advocate of including Virginia in the lease sale was particularly annoyed as Virginia will not gain thousands of jobs because of the decision over the next seven years. It was estimated in 2005 that oil and natural gas drilling in the Outer Continental Shelf off the coast of Virgina could create 2,578 new jobs, induce capital investment of $7.84 billion, yield $644 million in direct and indirect payroll, and result in $271 million in state and local taxes.

“I am extremely disappointed (emph. added) that the Obama Administration has unilaterally blocked environmentally responsible, and economically crucial, offshore energy exploration and development in Virginia, along the Atlantic Coast and throughout other broad swaths of offshore territory nationwide. This is an irresponsible and short-sighted decision,” said McDonnell. “This decision comes in the midst of one of the toughest economies in our history. The cost of today’s decision will be seen in major lost job opportunities, surrendered economic growth, and increased dependence on foreign sources of energy, from nations often hostile to American interests.”

Lt. Governor Bill Bolling, Virginia’s chief jobs creation officer was equally disappointed by today’s decision:

“I am very disappointed (emph. added) that the Obama Administration has refused to move forward with the responsible development of our nation’s offshore energy resources….Unfortunately, as a result of the President’s unjustified decision, these considerable resources will remain unutilized and our over-dependence on foreign sources of energy will continue. This is another example of the Obama Administration pursuing anti-business policies that will perpetuate our current economic malaise.”

Speaking about the national implications of the decision, the CEO of the American Petroleum Institute, Jack Gerard said, “The oil and natural gas industry is a reliable vehicle for growing the economy and creating good-paying jobs. This decision shuts the door on new development off our nation’s coasts and effectively ensures that new American jobs will not be realized. It will stifle investment, deny billions in revenue for critical government services and increase our dependence on foreign energy sources.”

Gerard should know something about the impact, API represents more than 400 oil and natural gas companies, an industry that supplies most of the U.S.’ energy needs, supports more than 9.2 million U.S. jobs and 7.5 percent of the U.S. economy, and, since 2000, has invested nearly $2 trillion in U.S. capital projects to advance all forms of energy, including alternatives.

Republican Party of Virginia Chairman Pat Mullins though sees something a little more sinister in the White House’s motives:

“I’m starting to wonder just what Virginia’s economy ever did to Barack Obama. First he rams the federal takeover of our healthcare system through congress, with Jim Webb casting the deciding vote, that will cost Virginians millions. Then he moves to unilaterally close the Joint Forces Command down in Hampton Roads which will cost many Virginians their jobs and hurt our military’s capabilities. Today he announces that he won’t allow offshore drilling of our coast. Virginia stood to gain as many as 15,000 jobs from offshore drilling – good paying, long-term, private sector jobs. And that’s apart from the millions that would go to the state for road projects. If I didn’t know better, I’d say Barack Obama was bound and determined to hurt Virginia’s economy any way he could.”

Mullins went on to wonder aloud about Sens. Jim Webb and Mark Warner and whether they would be willing to stand-up to the administration. Which is a reasonable question to ask.

Before the Deepwater Horizon accident, both Webb and Warner supported the offshore drilling initiative.

Update: There’s that “disappointed” word again. This time from soon-to-be Majority Leader Eric Cantor:

“I am deeply disappointed (emph. added) by the Obama Administration’s heavy-handed decision to block offshore energy exploration and development along the Atlantic Coast, including off the coast of Virginia.

“America sits on a virtual sea of energy resources that can be tapped to heat our homes, sustain our businesses, provide sustainable jobs and power our means of transportation. By taking this important energy sector off the table for Virginia and other states, the President has effectively crippled our nation’s ability to provide an energy independent future for our children.

“We can and must do better to safely and responsibly develop our nation’s energy potential and I believe this decision lacks the foresight necessary to address the energy challenges facing our country today and in the years ahead.”

  • valentinus

    Well, there is a solution possible in 2 years which the state and country better take advantage of.

    This whole drilling business is a perfect example of the gangster leftism of the Obama Admin. It would be possible to have a principled if misguided opposition to drilling. Instead we have the typical kneejerk liberal response of moving that ghastly oil rig off land to shallow water then from shallow water to the middle of the ocean where emergencies are much harder resolve combined with the flaming cronyism of giving Soros and others lucrative deals with the Brazilians to drill there. Every country is now setting up drilling except for us and Obama doesn’t mind sending billions of our dollars to these other countries to help them do it.

    The obvious intent is to drive energy prices higher in the US. Obama was quoted saying exactly that. Do people believe him now?

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  • Steve Vaughan

    Because putting oil rigs off the coast of our biggest tourist atttraction was always souch a good idea. Oh, and then there’s the fact that under current law this would have generated exactly $0 in royalties for the state.

  • Eric the 1/2 Troll

    Perhaps now somebody will go forward with wind energy generation off the coast of Virginia.

  • valentinus

    I’m not sure if Eric is being facetious but Mr Vaughan would have to object even more to that idea than with the oil rigs. In terms of noise and unsightliness hundreds of wind turbines can’t be beat. Even the enviro bunnies don’t want them anywhere near them. I suppose we can follow the lead of California and forbid anything kind of unpleasantness and live happily ever afterward.

  • Steve Vaughan

    Valentius: Presumably the wind turbines would be out of sight of the beach…at least that’s how I read the plan….so they wouldn’t affect tourism. Unlike an oil rig, there’s no possibility of a leak from wind turbine.
    I’m not all that green. I could be convinced that drilling for oil off the coast would be a good idea. If, and only if, someone can show me an analysis that shows that the drilling will bring in more money to the state than Virginia Beach’s highly profitable tourism industry, which will be put at risk by the drilling.
    I haven’t seen that yet. At this point, Virginia would get no royalities from oil drilling off the coast. So I can’t see any reason we should do it.

  • valentinus

    Agree that the royalties issue should be addressed. I’m open to any approach less inane than the enviro bunnies and less corrupt than the Obama cap and trade scam.

  • Steve Vaughan

    Hmmm, did you notice that the governor’s recently announced Bay cleanup plan includes a form of cap and trade?

  • I have heard a lot of great things about The Virginia Alternative and Renewable Energy Association (VA-AREA). This group is working in partnership to enact pro-growth public policy to expand Virginia’s renewable energy industry, create jobs and attract investment to Virginia. Supporting their cause I feel will greatly help the Commonwealth out and I encourage anyone interested in sustainable energy to check out their website.

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