By Zack Colman - 03/18/13 02:53 PM EDT
Obama's proposal would put $2 billion from federal offshore drilling revenues collected over a decade into a research fund for biofuel-, natural gas- and electricity-powered vehicles.
Getting the federal government to split some of those offshore royalties with states like Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Texas is one of Landrieu’s primary legislative goals.
Currently, states don’t receive royalties for energy produced off their coasts. The four aforementioned states can start doing so in 2017, but those awards are capped at $500 million annually.
Landrieu spearheaded an offshore revenue-sharing bill last session, but it stalled in the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee. She's reviving that effort with the committee’s ranking member, Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska). Chairman Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) also has expressed interest in working on the issue.
Given the uncertainty regarding offshore revenue sharing, the oil patch Democrat’s opposition to Obama’s plan — dubbed the “Energy Security Trust” — is not all too surprising.
White House officials contend the trust, which requires congressional approval, would not decrease federal offshore drilling revenues destined for the Treasury Department.
They said the $2 billion would come from expected changes to boost permitting efficiency, already scheduled leases and projected pricing and production trends.
Obama first unveiled the plan in his February State of the Union address, and reiterated it during a Chicago-area speech last week. The White House said the trust is key to Obama’s economic strategy to create high-tech manufacturing jobs, and that it would help wean the United States off oil.
Republicans will likely resist the plan unless coupled with expanding offshore oil-and-gas drilling. White House officials said that was not under consideration.