Comstock goes overboard with offshore energy claim


SLICK: Congressional candidate Barbara Comstock says her legislation opened the way to offshore energy exploration. Fellow state delegate disagrees.

By Kenric Ward | Virginia Bureau

ALEXANDRIA, Va. – State Delegate Barbara Comstock is inflating her energy record to pump up her congressional bid.

The McLean Republican’s congressional campaign webpage declares that she “authored Virginia’s law to allow for offshore exploration of energy.”

In fact, Comstock’s “major legislation” did no such thing. Her 2010 bill, HB 900, was folded into HB 756, by Delegate Chris Stolle, R-Virginia Beach. The resulting measure divvies up any royalties the state would receive from ocean drilling.

The allocation process is described on Comstock’s House of Delegates page:

“80 percent of future offshore royalties and revenues (would go) to transportation and the remaining 20 percent to the Virginia Coastal Energy Research Consortium, which researches and develops renewable energy solutions.”

“This bill was a critical component for both energy independence and providing for a dedicated revenue stream for much needed transportation funds for Northern Virginia,” Comstock’s delegate page notes.

Yet Comstock’s 10th Congressional District campaign goes further in asserting her measure authorized offshore oil and gas exploration.

Only Congress and the president can make that call.

Still, Comstock supporters are spreading the notion that she cleared the way for drilling. On Saturday, Fairfax County Supervisor Pat Herrity sent an email blast repeating that she “wrote Virginia’s law to allow for offshore energy exploration.”

Comstock spokesman Susan Falconer told that Comstock’s efforts helped “clear a pathway for energy independence in Virginia.”

Fellow delegate and CD10 candidate Bob Marshall, who also supports offshore exploration, said Falconer is “sidestepping the main point.”

“(Comstock) can’t say she authored the law,” concluded Marshall, R-Manassas.

Comstock, Marshall and a handful of other Republicans are vying to succeed retiring GOP Rep. Frank Wolf. Republicans will select their nominee in a series of firehouse primaries on April 26.

Kenric Ward is chief of’s Virginia Bureau. Contact him at or at (571) 319-9824. @Kenricward

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