By Ben Geman - 07/19/11 11:20 AM EDT
Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.) is confident she has the votes to attach language to drilling safety legislation that would ensure coastal states receive a significant chunk of revenues from offshore oil-and-gas development.
The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee will debate broad offshore drilling safety legislation Thursday.
Landrieu has long pushed for sharing lucrative leasing bids and production royalties from development in federal waters with the adjoining states.
She has broadened her plan to attract political support from lawmakers representing coastal states where offshore drilling likely isn’t in the offing.
It now also promises coastal states a share of revenues from fledgling offshore renewable energy industries.
“People have decided that yes, it is fair for states to share in energy production off of their coasts. It doesn’t have to be oil-and-gas, it could be wind, it could be solar, it could be tidal, it could be geothermal,” Landrieu said. “I think we will have the votes to do it.”
Landrieu, an ally of oil-and-gas producers, has long pushed for revenue-sharing as a major source of money for states that already have drilling off their shores, and to create an incentive for other states to back offshore drilling.
Gulf of Mexico states won oil-and-gas revenue-sharing in a 2006 law, ensuring a 37.5 percent cut from certain leases, but the bulk of it does not begin until 2016. Landrieu has said that the program should be sped up.