Offshore development could buoy economy
Published 9:13 pm Thursday, April 12, 2018
To the editor:
The recent decision by the Interior Department to reopen the Mid-Atlantic coast for oil and gas exploration brings with it amazing potential for the commonwealth. It is estimated that offshore energy exploration and development could contribute billions to our economy over the next two decades.
Offshore exploration is projected to create thousands of jobs not just along the coast but also in more rural parts of our state. These jobs are also expected to pay far above the median salary in Virginia, at $101,000 on average for non-gas station jobs. This would be a boon for many of our young high school and college graduates looking to work outside of the retail and tourism industries.
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While the current unemployment rate is historically low, much of the economic stimulation is due in part to a strong pro-business and pro-energy climate, which stimulates investments and job growth.
We should continue to work to make the commonwealth less reliant on federal spending and more economically diverse and resilient. Increased domestic energy production would not only make our country less reliant on foreign sources of energy, an immense benefit to our overall national security, but it would also grow our economy and generate good paying jobs throughout the state.
It’s always a good thing when we can make our nation more energy secure while making our commonwealth’s economy stronger in the process. I hope that our federal and state elected officials will keep an open mind to the fact that offshore energy exploration and development can be done safely while advancing Virginia’s economic and energy future.