The Senate passed the “Energy Jobs Act” (SB709) would direct the Governor to enter into a energy compact with Virgina and South Carolina. The compact would develop strategies for exploring offshore and inland. The bill also outlines how the revenue and royalties from exploration would be divided. A portion would go the General Fund, some to the Highway Trust Fund, smaller portions to the State Ports Authority and Department of Commerce.
Community Colleges and Universities would also receive part of the revenues to develop training for energy related jobs and for research.
Bill sponsor Republican Senator Bob Rucho said it would probably take 10 years to see the results of the measure, but claimed it could have a $500 million impact on the state’s economy and create many jobs.
A couple of Democrats opposed the idea because of the BP spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Senator Rucho countered “you don’t shut down airlines because of one accident.”
The bill passed 38-12 meaning some Democrats voted for it.