Newt Gingrich Doubles Down on Energy Exploration
Around the State
With his campaign for the Republican presidential nomination failing to gain traction, former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich of Georgia called for increased offshore energy exploration on Wednesday.
While he started as one of the front-runners in the polls, Gingrich’s campaign has been plagued with staff upheaval and the candidate’s erratic course, taking shots at the Republican congressional budgetary proposal and not focusing on early states. Gingrich took eighth place with 2 percent in the Iowa Republican straw poll that was held on Saturday.
Gingrich turned to energy on Wednesday, praising a measure backed by two Democrats in the Senate and House Republicans that would allow more drilling off the coast of Virginia.
“Virginia Democratic Senators Mark Warner and Jim Webb have created ... a bipartisan opportunity for a small building block toward success,” Gingrich noted on Wedesday. “They have proposed something which will actually create jobs, grow federal, state and local revenues with no tax increase, and speed the production of American energy. Since the vast majority of Americans favor an American energy policy for economic and national security reasons, this bill should be very popular with Democrats, Republicans, and independents. Senators Webb and Warner introduced legislation last month that would force the federal government to move forward with offshore drilling in Virginia in an area still known as Lease Sale 220.”
Gingrich was enthusiastic about the proposal, which has the backing of Republican Gov. Bob McDonnell of Virginia as well as the two leading candidates in the U.S. Senate race in the Old Dominion -- former U.S. Sen. George Allen who is the likely Republican candidate, and probable Democratic opponent former Gov. Tim Kaine.
“It would establish a 50-50 revenue-sharing plan for Virginia,” insisted Gingrich. “The plan would direct 37.5 percent of any revenues to the commonwealth of Virginia, and set aside an additional 12.5 percent for land and water conservation efforts, public transportation projects and alternative energy development projects in Virginia.”
Gingrich pointed to a study from the American Energy Alliance which maintained offshore energy could lead to an additional $3.2 billion flowing into Virginia and more than 15,000 jobs. The former congressional leader blasted President Barack Obama for opposing energy exploration.
“American oil production could grow even faster if President Obama’s unnecessary regulatory barriers were removed. Drilling off the Virginia coast is an excellent place to start,” Gingrich maintained. “House Republicans should seize the opportunity. They should pass the House bill exactly as it is and challenge the Senate to act on this bipartisan proposal. There are a significant number of Democratic senators who have said they favor energy development. This would be a chance for them to be bipartisan and solution-oriented. With the support of some Democrats, President Obama would have to decide if he would veto a bipartisan bill that would create jobs, energy, and federal revenues.”
Gingrich added that he is optimistic about the role of energy exploration in helping revive the economy and ease partisan tensions in Washington.
“Offshore drilling has enormous potential to be a first step toward breaking gridlock in Washington,” insisted Gingrich. “Washington should act soon on this truly bipartisan plan.”
Reach Kevin Derby at email@example.com or at (850) 727-0859.