"Va. Gov McDonnell Signs Offshore Energy Bills"

"RICHMOND, Va. -- Gov. Bob McDonnell signed into law Wednesday offshore drilling legislation intended to realize his goal of making Virginia the East Coast's energy superpower.

The bills supporting offshore oil and gas exploration and directing royalties from drilling back to Virginia each hinge on actions by the federal government and Congress.

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar is expected to announce his decision soon whether the government will move forward with the sale of oil and gas leases in a triangular tract 50 miles off of the Virginia coast. The 2.9 million acres has an estimated 130 million barrels of oil and 1.1 trillion cubic feet of natural gas.

McDonnell said the bill backing offshore exploration is intended to signal to Salazar the state's official endorsement of gas and oil exploration."

Steve Szkotak reports for the Associated Press March 10, 2010.

Source: AP, 03/11/2010