Landrieu pushes new revenue model for offshore drilling

Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.) used a Tuesday hearing to advocate for legislation that would remove the cap that Gulf Coast states have on the revenue they can receive from offshore drilling royalties and fees.

Landrieu, chairwoman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, said her previous legislation allowed Louisiana, Mississippi, Texas and Alabama to receive 37.5 percent of the revenues that come from Gulf of Mexico drilling, while the federal government receives the rest. But revenues are capped at $500 million per year.

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“No other state or group of states in the country operates under such a cap,” Landrieu said at the hearing. “Our next step is to lift the cap to accelerate these payments, and to make this more in-line with interior states.”

Her legislation, the Fixing America's Inequities with Revenues Act, would gradually lift the cap until it is gone.

After the hearing, Landrieu said she did not know when her legislation would start to move, but she welcomed the hearing as an opportunity to build support for it.

“We’re building, I think, a strong record for advocating for a different way of disbursing federal revenues that would make revenue sharing more robust,” she said.

Landrieu also said she did not know how much it would cost the federal government to give a greater share of its revenue to the states. But at the hearing she confirmed with Greg Gould, director of the Interior Department’s Office of Natural Resource Revenue, that the federal government has earned about $248 billion from offshore leases since 1982, roughly equivalent to a year’s worth of corporate taxes.

“Given that the total amount of receipts coming into the federal treasury since 1982 from resources is equivalent to one year of corporate revenue, I don’t think the money should be an issue,” Landrieu said.