NOVEMBER IS COMING … Sen. John Edwards: Against Virginia Energy Independence

September 27, 2011

As Virginia and the rest of the nation continue to struggle with financial uncertainty, one of the continuing drags on the economy is the consistently high price of energy. Increased fuels costs impact nearly every sector of the marketplace, from the price of filling up your gas tank to buying a loaf of bread at your local supermarket.

While the Obama Administration has declared nearly all-out war on the varied fuel industries, with the rare exceptions of suspect solar and wind power concerns, there are a few areas where there appears to be hope. As Virginia anticipates the sale of leases to explore for energy off its Atlantic coast, the legislature has already moved to put in place a mechanism to use the expected royalties responsibly.

In 2010, the Virginia General Assembly approved legislation – signed by Governor Bob McDonnell – that would dedicate the revenue stream to three important areas: the Transportation Trust Fund (70-percent), the Virginia Coastal Energy Research Consortium (20-percent) and to localities for infrastructure and transportation improvements (10-percent). The sale of leases for oil and natural gas exploration and production would help our nation with its energy needs and create much-needed jobs here at home.

While the legislature and governor have acted sensibly, Senator John Edwards (D-21st District) inexplicably voted against directing the energy income to those vital and necessary areas, indicating his opposition to the entire proposition.

While supporters of energy independence and job creation have railed against the Obama Administration for its hostility toward exploration for resources at home, there are those in Virginia who have been making the right choices for the future of this country and the economy. Unfortunately, Senator John Edwards isn’t among them.

One would think that coming from a region of the state which has long been close to the heart of coal country in Virginia, Senator Edwards would see the need for the expansion of energy exploration within the scope of Virginia’s authority. That he would oppose the dedication of the resulting royalties to much-needed projects and programs is simply unconscionable.

Frequent studies have indicated that thousands of jobs would be created in Virginia as a result of the energy efforts off the coast, but apparently that hasn’t swayed Senator Edwards. He should get the message that Virginians are tired of paying around $4 for a gallon of gas and wondering where their next paychecks might be coming from.

On the issue of energy independence and the associated creation of jobs, Senator Edwards is just plain wrong.

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