By Ben Geman - 07/23/13 07:58 PM EDT
Advocates of increased revenue sharing for Gulf of Mexico states, and expanding it to Alaska and other coastal states, say it’s a question of fairness, noting that onshore states get half the royalty revenue from oil and gas development on federal lands within their borders.
They argue that coastal states deserve a share — the bill would provide 37.5 percent — to help address the impacts of offshore development and meet other needs, such as battling coastal erosion in Louisiana. The bill would also help fund state green energy efforts.
Drilling advocates also argue that East and West Coast states where offshore leasing currently does not occur would have incentive, with revenue sharing, to push the federal government to allow development there.
Murkowski slammed Interior’s position, which E2-Wire covered here, calling it “disingenuous” and arguing that states with offshore development need more funds.
“These funds are absolutely critical for infrastructure to support offshore energy activity, emergency and oil spill preparedness and response capabilities, mitigation and restoration projects, and to meet increased demands on public services,” Murkowski, the committee’s top Republican, said at the hearing on the legislation.
Murkowski said she and Landrieu are committed to finding offsets for the costs and also argued that the bill could be a pathway to expanded offshore development that raises revenue.
“States and communities will have less incentive to support this development if they are expected to shoulder risks and absorb impacts with no revenue sharing,” she said.