VIRGINIA BEACH-Second District Congressman Scott Rigell is promising energy independence for America and 18,000 new jobs for Hampton Roads with his new 'Virginia Jobs and Energy Act.'

The measure would compel the Interior Department to open up Virginia's coastal waters 50 miles off-shore to oil and natural gas drilling. The measure mandates that 37.5 percent of any federal government revenue be shared with the Commonwealth.

'There's a tremendous amount of opportunity for oil independence, job creation and really, better tax revenues we need for better roads and better schools right off the coast of Virginia,' Rigell said.

The exploration and drilling could take place within proximity of crucial Navy training in the Atlantic Ocean, but so far neither U.S. Fleet Forces Command nor the Navy's Chief of Information Office has commented on Rigell's bill, telling 13News it is simply too premature.

But some Virginia Beach residents say they are concerned about compromising national security and about threats to the environment if there were ever to be an oil spill.

'I think to have the jobs created out here, that would be fabulous. But we have to think also of our military here and the possible spillage,' said Susie Morris.

Rigell insists that protecting the environment would be job one. Rigell also said that Navy leaders, 'have expressed no concerns.'

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