Read the Bills Act Coalition

Monday, July 7, 2008

HB6006 crucial to the Future of the Commonwealth

HB6006 is important legislation for the Commonwealth, the energy crisis and our fuel costs....Below is the press release outlining the bill:

Commonwealth of Virginia

Virginia House of Delegates

RICHMOND


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Monday, July 7, 2008
Legislation Encouraging Offshore Drilling
in Virginia Poised for Passage
in House of Delegates
-- House Bill 6006 to be Considered by House Wednesday --
-- Bill Dedicates Proceeds from Oil & Natural Gas Drilling to Transportation Trust Fund --
-- With Gas Prices at over $4.00, Measure Critical to US’s Future Energy Independence --


RICHMOND, VA – Approved by a bipartisan 12 to 3 majority in the House Rules Committee, Delegate Chris Saxman’s (R-Augusta) legislation to dedicate future revenues and royalties from offshore drilling to Virginia’s Transportation Trust Fund appears poised for passage by the full House during Wednesday’s session. The legislation, an important step in allowing vital oil and natural gas exploration off the Virginia coastline, secured the votes of all Republican delegates on the Rules Committee as well as half of the Democrat delegates. HB 6006 is supported by House Speaker William J. Howell and U.S. Congressman Eric Cantor, among others.

“Even though surveys repeatedly show strong public support for increased domestic energy exploration and offshore drilling, legislation that would bring America closer to energy independence remains stalled in Congress,” noted Delegate Saxman. “Though federal officials will ultimately decide whether to lift the ban on offshore drilling, it is important for Virginia, possessing potentially significant offshore resources, to prepare for that possibility now. By passing House Bill 6006, the Virginia General Assembly can send a strong message to Congress that we are ready to act.”

The legislation’s success in the House Rules Committee contrasts with the reception it received before the Senate Agriculture, Conservation and Natural Resources Committee. There, similar legislation sponsored by Senator Frank W. Wagner (R-Virginia Beach) was scuttled on a party-line vote, with all eight of the Committee’s Democrats voting to kill the bill.

For several of the Democrat senators, the vote marked a reversal. In 2005, at a time when the national average price of a gallon of unleaded regular was $1.92, all Democrat and Republican members of the State Senate voted unanimously for Senator Wagner’s bill (SB 1054) to seek an exemption that would allow Virginia to explore for natural gas offshore. The bill was subsequently vetoed by then-Governor Mark R. Warner, and all Democrat senators changed their positions and voted to sustain the veto, thus killing the bill.

“Millions upon millions of dollars may be lying out of eyesight off our Virginia shores,” said Senator Wagner. “‘Drill here, drill now, pay less’ is a realistic formula for a long-range solution to rising gasoline costs and reduced dependence on foreign oil. Here in Virginia it can be a source of revenue for our growing transportation needs. I appreciate the efforts of the Congressional supporters of offshore drilling, and hope the entire Virginia delegation will support lifting the moratorium.”

“Gasoline prices of $4.00 and higher touch many nerves, hitting the budgets of working families hard and impacting every sector of our struggling economy,” noted Virginia House of Delegates Speaker Howell (R-Stafford). “While many recognize that there’s no one ‘silver bullet’ that will solve our energy problems overnight, an overwhelming majority of Virginians do not understand how higher gas taxes help lower energy costs. They don’t. Instead, we need to advance environmentally responsible ways to explore and produce more energy here at home. Common sense would seem to dictate that if given the choice between new revenues from offshore energy exploration versus new revenue from higher gas taxes, those we’re elected to represent would want us to work toward and support the former and not the latter.”

In February of this year, Speaker Howell wrote to Governor Timothy M. Kaine about the issue of offshore drilling legislation, urging Virginia’s chief executive to actively support lifting the moratorium. Speaker Howell wrote, “In an effort to coordinate your efforts with Virginia’s Congressional Delegation to help our Commonwealth meaningfully address the energy challenges we face, I respectfully request that you use your personal influence and the full powers of your Office to obtain the support of the current leadership of the United States Congress to initiate action at the federal level.”

As the ongoing debate over ending the moratorium continues in Washington, DC, efforts by Virginia legislators to prepare for its end have not gone without notice. “The time has come for a common sense solution to explore for energy in the deep waters off the coast of Virginia,” remarked Congressman Eric Cantor (R-VA 7). “I applaud Senator Wagner and Delegate Saxman for proposing this legislation. Exploration will not only increase oil and gas supply, but provide a dedicated source of revenue that can be used to clean up the Chesapeake Bay. We must get serious about helping the middle class in this country and do something real about the pain at the pump; this bill will help.”

Delegate Christopher B. “Chris” Saxman is currently serving his fourth term representing the 20th District in the Virginia House of Delegates. The 20th District includes the City of Staunton, Highland County, and portions of Augusta and Rockingham Counties.

1 comment:

AlterofFreedom said...

And Raising Kaine goes cardiac. They must be scratching their head over there as to how this could be happening.

Not surprising though, if memory serves me right even Barack Obama cast one of his infamous "no votes" on a bill in the Congress that addressed offshore drilling in Virginia in 2007. He would not even take stand one way or the other back then.

I think kaine will infuriate the liberal by signing on to this. He opposed them on the Wise plant and now he may such do the same thing again. Kudos to him. Afterall, in ten years how far out will we have to go out from our coasts before we hit a Chinese rig in the Atlantic; 300 miles 500 miles? Look at the increase in leases being signed by the Chinese in the Gulf. Its coming folks. Just wait.