Whether it's drilling off shore for oil and natural gas, developing wind farms off the coast or a combination of the two, energy policy proposals from candidates of both parties seeking federal office could be a boon for
At first glance the Democratic and Republican parties seem miles apart when it comes to federal energy policy.
Quentin Kidd, director of the Wason Center for Public Policy at
Republicans, he said, trumpet the expansion of harnessing the country's coal, oil and natural gas reserves to bring down energy costs and make the nation less reliant on foreign energy sources that are often hostile to the United States. But they also see the need in the long run for the development of alternative energy sources.
"Both sides realize we have to expand or energy resources beyond coal and oil, just one comes at it through the front door and one comes at it through the back door," Kidd said. "If we could scenario out Republican energy policy and Democratic energy policy, we might get to the same place 15 to 20 years out."
Kidd said Virginia and Hampton Roads are in a good position to profit from off-shore drilling for natural gas and oil as well as the development of off-shore wind farms.
Jeff Caldwell, spokesman for Gov.
Benefits of drilling
Caldwell said latest figures received by the governor's office show that drilling for natural gas and oil off the coast will bring in 1,900 new jobs and provide $19.5 billion in revenue to federal, state and local governments.
While Obama has expanded oil and natural gas production domestically, in the wake of the 2010
That has Virginia Democrats bucking the president on the moratorium against off-shore drilling in Virginia.
Senate candidate and former Gov.
Local Republican U.S. Reps. Randy Forbes,
Republican U.S. Senate candidate and former Gov.
Romney specifically mentions off-shore drilling in Virginia in his energy plan. But Steve Yetiv, professor of political science at
He said studies need to be done as to how much natural gas is really accessible in Virginia's coastal waters, and added that the recent "revolution" in natural gas has made the industry less profitable. A 30-year-old study shows that the region off Virginia contains roughly 6.5 days worth of the nation's oil consumption and around 11 days worth of natural gas.
Adam Cook, Wittman's Democratic challenger in the 1st District, opposes drilling off Virginia's coast because "three-fourths of the area" under consideration is used by the Navy for training exercises.
Ret. Navy Adm. John Nathman said drilling in the region is an issue of national security, because this is one of only two areas where the Navy can conduct large scale training exercises such as "carrier battle group training exercises, including anti-submarine and gunnery exercises, pilot training, and other test operations."
U.S. Rep. Robert C. "Bobby" Scott, D-Newport News, opposes off-shore drilling in Virginia due to environmental concerns and the effect it could have on the region's sea-food and tourism industries.
Yetiv said he wouldn't "underestimate the chances of an environmental catastrophe." He said while off-shore drilling has the potential for positive effects on the region, "voters should demand" serious studies on the risks.
He said the real potential for job creation and sustainable energy policy lies in "the green revolution" that includes wind energy.
Off-shore wind farms
A 2010 study from the Advanced Research Institute at
Pete Daikun, vice president of energy programs at Huntington Ingalls Newport News Shipbuilding, said his company is willing and has the capabilities to provide those jobs as the industry develops in the region.
He said the shipyard has the capacity to build the large-scale components needed for off-shore wind turbines and would use its Apprentice School to train the necessary workers.
Newport News Shipbuilding was in the process of developing and installing a prototype off-shore wind turbine of the Virginia coast with Spanish company Gamesa. The partnership with Gamesa is on hold for now, Daikun said, as Gamesa decided in May to install the prototype in Spanish waters instead.
One of the reasons Gamesa cited for its decision was the uncertain future of the wind production tax credit, which expires at the end of the year if Congress doesn't extend it.
Challenge on tax credits
Romney opposes the tax-credit extension, which many Republicans call an example of Democratic "cronyism." Instead he calls for an easing of regulations to make it easier for companies to enter the alternative energy markets. He also wants to invest more in research and development in alternative energy.
Wittman has legislation that has passed the
Of the local GOP candidates, only Rigell has said he is considering supporting the extension. A campaign spokesman said while the freshman lawmaker supports off-shore wind farms he is still undecided on the tax credit.
Iowa's Republican Gov.
"Economically, the United States will fall behind immeasurably if we do not take action on renewable energy production. Creating and funding innovative new technologies and industries that are environmentally friendly and run more efficiently are key to a healthier, cleaner future. Cleaner energy will prevent thousands of deaths each year which are related to fossil fuel use. We cannot wait for today's answer on renewable energy tomorrow. We must address this issue of cleaner energy production with bold leadership and common sense solutions."
Campaign messages on energy policy
President Barack Obama Virginia state spokeswoman Marianne von Nordeck:
"President Obama knows that energy independence is critical to creating jobs at home, ensuring our national security, and growing an economy built to last. The president believes we need an all-of-the-above energy strategy that capitalizes on all of America's natural resources, and thanks to his policies, our dependence on foreign oil is at the lowest level in 20 years. While the president is investing in clean technologies and passing new fuel economy standards that will save drivers money at the pump, Republicans are continuing to protect taxpayer-funded subsidies for oil companies that are making record profits."
Mitt Romney state spokesman Curt Cashour:
"Governor Romney is committed to a true all-of-the-above energy policy which will increase production of domestic oil and natural gas, and help Virginia's coal industry thrive, not shut down. As president, he will reverse President Obama's offshore drilling ban, end the war on coal, and approve the Keystone Pipeline. Increasing energy production from Virginia's coal fields to its coast is at the heart of the Romney-Ryan Plan For a Stronger Middle Class, which will create 345,000 Virginia jobs, increase take-home pay, and achieve North American energy independence by 2020."
George Allen spokeswoman Emily Davis:
"George Allen believes Washington is hurting coal jobs and driving up the price of energy with counterproductive
Tim Kaine spokeswoman Lily Adams:
"Tim Kaine continues to support a comprehensive strategy that will create good-paying Virginia jobs, just as he did as governor. During his term, Governor Kaine implemented Virginia's first comprehensive strategy that taps all of Virginia's resources including natural gas and coal, as well as alternative technologies like wind and solar that are key to Virginia's position in the emerging $2.3 trillion clean energy industry. As a senator, he will work to repeal unnecessary giveaways to big oil companies and instead focus on the types of energy that will grow our economy and bring us closer to energy independence."
U.S. Rep. Rob Wittman
"I support an 'All of the Above' energy strategy where all options are on the table. I am an advocate for domestic exploration including natural gas and oil shale; with the right leadership, Virginia has the opportunity to develop offshore energy in an environmentally friendly manner. In addition, we must promote alternative sources, including wind, solar, hydro, biomass, geothermal, and nuclear energy; encourage conservation; and modernize our energy infrastructure. I introduced legislation that the House passed that would streamline the development of offshore wind energy resources off Virginia's coast."
Democrat Adam Cook:
"We must end our dependence on foreign oil. Never again should we be forced to consider sending our troops into harm's way to keep overseas oil supplies flowing. Virginia, and the Tidewater area in particular, should continue to play a key role in the production of domestic energy sources. I am therefore in favor of continued federal support to the development of the large offshore wind farm currently under development by Dominion. This project would create good jobs in the area's existing shipbuilding and port industries designing, manufacturing and shipping turbines."
U.S. Rep. Scott Rigell:
"Sharply higher gas prices are hurting family budgets, and some of what we pay at the pump supports nations whose values do no align with our own. That is why I have led in advancing an "all-of-above" energy strategy, which includes leveraging the wind and traditional energy resources we have in abundance off the coast of Virginia. My energy legislation, which passed the House of Representatives this summer, allows environmentally responsible exploration to move forward and if passed into law could create an estimated 18,000 new jobs right here in Hampton Roads. As an entrepreneur I know the right legislation being passed can help us create thousands of good paying jobs in Hampton Roads! That's why my service reflects a deep commitment to finding common ground — bringing Republicans and Democrats together — to do what is best not for a political party, but for the next generation of Americans."
Democrat Paul Hirschbiel:
"We need to develop a comprehensive energy plan that moves America towards energy independence. A comprehensive energy plan is not only good for our environment but will help create jobs right here in Hampton Roads. Unfortunately, Congress' failure to renew the Wind Energy Production Tax Credit has already cost Hampton Roads jobs. We need real leadership in Congress to put the partisanship aside and start working to solve problems."
U.S. Rep. Robert C. "Bobby" Scott:
"We must take bold steps to wean ourselves off of our addiction to foreign oil. By spurring innovation in alternative energy projects, we will create jobs, decrease our dependence on foreign sources of energy, and reduce pollution. Without a sensible national energy policy, our dependence on foreign oil will continue to increase. Energy prices will continue to skyrocket which in turn handicap our economic recovery. Energy independence based on alternatives to fossil fuels will make America more secure, create thousands of jobs in clean energy, and help us turn the tide on climate change."
Republican Dean Longo:
"The time for Congress talking about energy independence is over. We are the nation that put a man on the moon and reached the deepest point of our oceans. We can certainly find a way to reach a compromise between expanding our energy resources, reaching oil independence, and sound environmental policy. We also need to ensure effective government oversight that enables — not eliminates — the use of Virginia coal, and maintains the continued flow from the Virginia coal fields through the Port of Hampton Roads in Newport News."
"American energy independence will require two critical steps. First, America must produce. We can bring down energy prices by increasing domestic oil and natural gas production and reducing bureaucratic delays that have left us with 87 percent of our offshore energy areas off limits to exploration. I've stood against the short-sightedness of the president's rejection of the Keystone XL Pipeline project which could have brought 700,000 barrels of Canadian oil per day to refineries in the US and created 120,000 American jobs but instead has now opened the possibility that China will instead purchase the much-needed Canadian oil.
"Second, America must innovate. Sadly, 'green energy' has become synonymous with crony stimulus deals and unanswered promises of green jobs. It need not be. I've written a plan called the New