By Zack Colman - 03/20/13 05:24 PM EDT
The Landrieu-Murkowski bill would divert 27.5 percent of federal revenues from energy — fossil fuel and renewable — produced offshore to most coastal states.
Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas, however, would get 37.5 percent. The bill also gradually phases out a $500 million annual cap on the revenues those states can collect.
The bill also would award an additional 10 percent of offshore revenues to coastal states that invest in clean-energy projects. Additionally, it would give coastal states 50 percent of revenues from renewable energy on federal land, whether onshore or offshore.
Landrieu and Murkowski, the top Republican on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, said they are working to build bipartisan support. But right now, the bill lacks a key co-sponsor — Energy Committee Chairman Ron Wyden.
Landrieu said the bill has the Oregon Democrat’s “blessing,” but that he is working on broader revenue-sharing legislation that includes provisions for rural communities.
Landrieu said her and Murkowski’s bill — and the bipartisan backing she believes it will attract — could become one component of Wyden’s effort to build a wide-ranging coalition.
“I think it’s unlikely that the chairman’s idea will fall apart. The more I hear him speak of it, the more hearings that I’m in when this is the subject, the more that I can really see how this coalition can really come together,” Landrieu said.
Wyden has been engaged in the Landrieu-Murkowski bill, Murkowski said. She added she is working with Wyden on getting a committee hearing, though no date is set.
While Wyden might be supportive of the Landrieu-Murkowski bill, it could run into some roadblocks regarding payment issues.
As it stands, the bill would siphon off some revenues presently destined for the general Treasury. That won’t sit well with conservatives fixing to reduce the federal deficit.
Landrieu and Murkowski acknowledged that, but said giving those federal energy revenues to coastal states was a matter of fairness.
Still, to assuage those concerns, Landrieu said the bill would contain enough offsets to at least be revenue neutral.
“Bottom line is this bill will not pass unless it’s all paid for,” she said.
— This story was updated at 6:52 p.m.