Senators prepare expanded energy revenue sharing bill

US Sens. Mary L. Landrieu (D-La.) and Lisa Murkowski (R-Alas.) said they will introduce an expanded version of federal energy revenue sharing legislation they have offered previously.

The new bill will treat federal onshore renewable energy the same as oil and gas, giving states a 50% share of revenue from wind and solar power production on public land within their borders, the two Energy and Natural Resources Committee members said on Mar. 20.

Like its predecessors, the measure would establish a 37.5% revenue share for coastal states off which oil and gas is produced from federal leases. The new measure would extend that provision to offshore renewables, however.

“Revenue sharing is important for the coastal communities that will have increased demands on their infrastructure and public services from offshore development,” said Murkowski, the Energy and Natural Resources Committee’s ranking minority member.

“It’s only fair that these communities share in the revenues from the resources produced off their shores—regardless of whether that is oil and gas or wind and tidal energy,” she maintained.

Additional provision

The bill also would gradually lift the current congressionally mandated $500 million annual cap on a 37.5% revenue share that four Gulf Coast producing states were to receive with enactment of the 2006 Gulf of Mexico Energy Security Act, and immediately accelerate Phase 2 of the law.

Oil and gas and other trade associations responded favorably to their announcement. “Offshore revenue sharing should be an important element of a comprehensive national energy plan,” said Erik Milito, upstream and industry operations director at the American Petroleum Institute.

“According to the federal government’s estimates, oil and natural gas will provide the majority of America’s energy well into the future,” Milito said, adding, “We applaud the senators for recognizing the tremendous benefits from revenue sharing that will result directly from oil and gas investments.”

National Ocean Industries Association Pres. Randall B. Luthi said, “Allowing all coastal states to share in prospective future revenue from both traditional and renewable offshore energy activities is sound public policy.”

Luthi said, “However, steps must be taken to ensure that lease sales are actually conducted in new areas where they’re currently prohibited, or else the revenue is merely theoretical.”

The American Chemistry Council (ACC), in a Mar. 20 statement, said, “Domestic energy production has become the engine driving America’s economy by producing thousands of new jobs and spurring billions of dollars in new manufacturing investment, including the potential for tens of billions of dollars in new chemical industry capital investment. ACC has long-endorsed a comprehensive energy strategy that encourages and develops all of America’s domestic energy resources, from increased production of natural gas to innovations that contribute to greater energy efficiency.”

ACC concluded, “As policymakers act to spur new demand for natural gas, they must also act to increase access to new sources of supply. [This bill] is a key step in that direction.”

Contact Nick Snow at nicks@pennwell.com.

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