Survey: Mid-Atlantic voters think offshore drilling could benefit local, state infrastructure projects

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Voters in mid-Atlantic states strongly support more offshore oil and gas drilling, and a big reason is the new tax revenue it could bring for state and local infrastructure projects, according to a series of new surveys released last week.

The surveys show that 65 percent of Virginia voters; 64 percent of North Carolina voters; and, 67 percent of South Carolina voters support “offshore development of U.S. oil and natural gas resources.”

The Harris Poll conducted the surveys for the American Petroleum Institute.

In Virginia, 79 percent of those surveyed said the increased offshore energy development could “benefit federal and state budgets through lease payments, royalty fees and other sources of revenue.”

“With the existing port, infrastructure, and wide variety of maritime industries like shipbuilding and engineering, Hampton Roads can help strengthen our national security and fuel the energy our nation demands,” said Miles Morin, executive director of the Virginia Petroleum Council.

77 percent of North Carolina voters felt the same way about an increase in federal and state tax revenue.

“North Carolina is uniquely positioned to add jobs and create revenue for local needs through energy development, like schools, infrastructure, beach re-nourishment and inlet dredging,” said David McGowan, executive director of the North Carolina Petroleum Council.

South Carolina was no different, with 84 percent agreeing that more offshore oil and gas development could lead benefit state and local tax revenue which would, in turn, benefit local infrastructure and other projects.

James McCormick, program director for Vets4Energy, said the many of the new infrastructure and other energy-related jobs produced by increased oil and gas drilling could benefit veterans.

“Right now, American veterans need jobs,” said McCormick, a retired Captain in the US Army. “So, aside from helping our national security by boosting energy independence, the new oil and gas development will help create new, good-paying jobs, many of which will go to skilled American veteran workers.”

In each state survey, voters overwhelmingly said more offshore energy production “could lead” to more jobs in the U.S. 92 percent of South Carolina voters agreed with that assessment, and they were joined by 88 percent of voters in both North Carolina and Virginia.

The Harris Poll conducted each of the surveys among between 600-664 voters in each state from January 22 through February 1, 2016.

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American Petroleum Institute Vets4Energy

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