If all goes well in the Senate this week, we should accomplish our long stride for lower gas prices and energy independence with the passage of the Gulf of Mexico Energy Security Act. I have long advocated opening up Lease 181 and fully support the provisions in this commonsense legislation. But, I have also offered an amendment that would allow other States including Virginia to opt out of the federal ban on deepwater exploration, if they choose to do so, with a portion of generated revenues going towards transportation infrastructure, in-State college tuitions, and coastal communities. With gasoline prices surging at more than $3 dollars a gallon, it is unbelievable and irresponsible to continue this obstructionist, detrimental moratorium on deepwater exploration. The Gulf of Mexico Energy Security Act is an outstanding bill and is vital for our national security, competitiveness, and creating jobs.