Senate panel defers vote on sharing offshore revenue with states

Nick Snow
OGJ Washington Editor

WASHINGTON, DC, July 22 -- Dissension over revenue sharing with states kept the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee on July 21 from voting on a bill to reform federal management of resources on the US Outer Continental Shelf. The committee lost its quorum soon after two of its members, Mary L. Landrieu (D-La.) and Lisa Murkowski (R-Alas.), the committee’s ranking minority member, introduced their revenue sharing amendment, and the vote was postponed.

Several committee members spoke in favor of the amendment, Murkowski said afterward. She said she planned to work with them in the days ahead to refine the amendment’s language to include funding for renewable energy projects at the state level, and to reschedule the markup soon so that S. 917, the Outer Continental Shelf Reform Act, and the amendment could be voted on.

“Those who understand the importance of inviting coastal states to be partners in our efforts to increase the nation’s energy security are not going to let this issue go away,” Murkowski said. “It is in our best interest to have American workers producing American energy, and revenue sharing will help us reach that goal.”

The Landrieu-Murkowski revenue sharing amendment would allow coastal states to retain a portion of the revenues generated by energy production in federal waters, beginning in 2019. It would apply to all forms of energy production, from oil and gas to wind and hydrokinetic. Murkowski’s new language would create a coastal state clean energy fund with 12.5% of the overall federal revenue from offshore production.

While the committee postponed its vote on revenue sharing, it passed S. 916, the Oil and Gas Facilitation Act, by voice vote. The bill would extend a federal permit processing improvement pilot program through 2020, authorize co-production of geothermal energy on oil and gas leases, mandate a comprehensive inventory of OCS resources, establish an Alaska OCS permit processing coordination office, and phase out deepwater royalty relief.

The US House Natural Resources Committee, meanwhile, plans to hold a hearing on July 27 to examine state perspectives on offshore revenue sharing.

Contact Nick Snow at nicks@pennwell.com.

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