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In an attempt to combat rising gas prices and a dependency on foreign oil, Rep. Robert Hurt, R-5th District, voted in favor of three energy bills recently known as the American Energy Initiative. A supporter of offshore drilling, Hurt believes that these bills can lead to a reduction in gas prices and create new jobs for Virginians""As I have heard from families, and small businesses and farmers who are seeing a negative impact on their bottom lines, we need to take action now if we are going to address this serious problem of skyrocketing fuel prices," said Hurt on the House floor Wednesday. "It is estimated that offshore energy development in Virginia, which has bipartisan support, could lead to the production of more than half a billion barrels of oil and 2.5 trillion cubic feet of natural gas and create nearly 2,000 jobs for our state."" Republicans in Congress, including Hurt, are pressing for a solution to combating the high costs of gas prices and finding economic recovery. Last week in Danville, Hurt praised the plan for the long term. "For the last 10 years there has been a real concerted effort to open up drilling on the coast of Virginia because people recognize that if we can tap into that supply, and in the Gulf of Mexico and Alaska, you are going to have a more dependable domestic supply of oil and natural gas and it is critical to have stable, affordable and low gas prices," said Hurt.