By Tyler Whitley
Published: April 27, 2009
Republican gubernatorial candidate Bob McDonnell and Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling unveiled twin energy plans today that call for drilling for oil and natural gas off the coast of Virginia.
McDonnell, at a stop in Norfolk, and Bolling, across the state in Roanoke, said Virginia must take advantage of traditional sources of energy, coal and nuclear power as well as oil and gas, while promoting alternative energy sources.
They said they want to make Virginia the energy capital of the East Coast.
Bolling, a Republican, is seeking re-election as lieutenant governor. He is running in tandem with McDonnell.
Because Virginia is the second largest importer of electricity, after California, it must develop the energy sources it has in abundance, such as oil and coal, McDonnell said. McDonnell said offshore drilling can be done safely.
A portion of the royalties derived from the drilling can be used to create alternative and renewable energy research and development and a portion can be used to fund transportation projects, he said.
McDonnell pledged to leverage Tobacco Commission funding to make Southside and Southwest Virginia a hub of energy research and development.
McDonnell and Bolling said they would make Virginia a “Green Jobs Zone,” which would offer tax incentives to companies that locate here and create green jobs.
The three Democrats seeking the gubernatorial nomination are opposed to off-shore drilling for oil. Terry McAuliffe and State Sen. R. Creigh Deeds would explore for natural gas, while former Del. Brian J. Moran of Alexandria is against such exploration.
Moran also has come out against a proposed coal-fired electricity plant in Surry County.