Delegate Peace urges Development of Virginia’s Off-Shore Energy Resources

-- Supports Pending Virginia Lease Sale 220 -- Central Virginia – In a letter to Ken Salazar, U. S. Secretary of the Interior, Delegate Christopher K. Peace (R-Mechanicsville), joined House Speaker William J. Howell, in expressing strong support for the development of energy resources off the coast of Virginia and the pending Sale 220 scheduled for 2011.

According to their website, the Minerals Management Service (MMS) is a bureau in the U.S. Department of the Interior; the Federal agency that manages the nation's natural gas, oil and other mineral resources on the outer continental shelf (OCS). MMS has initiated the first step for a potential lease sale offshore Virginia. The sale will be held no earlier than 2011.

The area covered is about 2.9 million acres offshore Virginia in the Mid-Atlantic Planning Area, and is at least 50 miles offshore. The MMS estimates that this area may contain 130 million barrels of oil and 1.14 trillion cubic feet of natural gas.

Peace stated in his letter, “A study by ICF International estimates that developing Virginia’s offshore energy resources could result in nearly $19.5 billion in federal, state, and local government revenues. In these challenging fiscal times, the economic impact of the Lease Sale can not be downplayed. Delaying the opportunity for Virginians to benefit from the development of oil and natural gas resources would subsequently delay the opportunity to bring critical jobs to Virginia, and threaten the potential for future revenue sources.”

“Last year, I was pleased to see Congress lift the federal moratoria on offshore exploration. This action brings with it tremendous opportunity for our nation to begin investments that will reduce reliance on foreign sources of energy, while also helping to strengthen our economy,” continued Peace.

Delegate Christopher K. Peace was elected to his third term representing the 97th District of the Virginia House of Delegates. The District includes parts of Hanover, Caroline, King William, King and Queen, Henrico, Spotsylvania Counties and all of New Kent County.