Speaking at a Richmond-area gas station as a backdrop, Gov. Bob McDonnell and other Virginia leaders on Thursday praised legislation in the U.S. House to move forward with oil and gas development in the Outer Continental Shelf, including areas off Virginia.

The House passed one of the bills, H.R. 1230, requiring the Secretary of the Interior to conduct certain offshore oil and gas lease sales, by a vote of 266-149 on Thursday.

The other bill cited at the news conference was H.R. 1372, the Virginia Energy Act, sponsored by Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA).

Excerpts from the news release:

Gov. McDonnell: “America has an energy policy problem.  Today, Virginia businesses and families are paying, on average, $3.88 per gallon for gasoline.  That’s up $1.00 from a year ago. The Energy Information Administration estimates that gasoline will cost the average U.S. household $1,210 more this year than in 2009. That is money that could be spent by families on education, groceries and vacations. Instead it is money being spent at the pump.  The pain at the pump is the result of many factors, one of which is the result of our ongoing dependence on foreign sources of oil. That is why I strongly support increasing domestic energy production from every possible source, including wind, solar, biomass, nuclear, oil and natural gas. A key part of that effort should be the environmentally responsible development and production of oil and natural gas off of Virginia’s shores.”

Rep. Goodlatte: “Virginians understand that a major component in lessening energy costs is to produce more energy. I believe that Virginia should have every tool available to access its energy supplies. That is why legislation like the one the Congress is considering today, that would provide for access to Virginia’s energy supplies as well as legislation that I have introduced that would provide for revenue sharing with the Commonwealth for its energy resources are vital to the Commonwealth of Virginia. In addition to helping us become energy independent, access to these resources will help create thousands of jobs for Virginians and infuse the Commonwealth with new capital growth.”

Mike Ward, Executive Director of the Virginia Petroleum Council: “The oil and natural gas industry stands ready – and waiting – to do more to help grow the economy, create American jobs, and provide the energy this country needs. The energy markets are constantly looking for signals to guide today’s investment strategies for producing tomorrow’s energy. Regrettably, the signals this administration has been sending encourage less investment in future domestic energy production. Our economy will still need oil and natural gas for decades to come. America must pursue policies that encourage responsible development of our resources instead of relying on imported energy from unstable parts of the world.”

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