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Although still years from actually sinking an offshore oil well, the state of Virginia is considering using royalties from these future oil wells as a way to finance roads, schools and environmental initiatives. The senate majority leader tried to get the future money earmarked for the general fund, but was defeated. The bill passed the house and senate and is headed for the governor’s desk.
There are other states, California and Florida in particular, sitting on billions of dollars of offshore oil revenue and yet refuse to to tap this source of wealth because of environmentalists. If Virginia succeeds here one can only hope that others will see the light. With states like California nearing bankruptcy, double digit unemployment and government budgets strained at all levels it is the height of hypocrisy to turn away from such a lucrative source of jobs and revenue.
What Virginia is doing is smart, but even smarter is using this money to fund both infrastructure and environmental projects.That way everybody wins and the environmental community, instead of throwing up roadblocks, has a vested interested in the economic development.