Debate ensues over U.S. oil revenue

July 24, 2013 at 8:21 AM
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WASHINGTON, July 24 (UPI) -- Alaska's Sen. Lisa Murkowski said she was disappointed the government is wary of legislation that would distribute oil production royalties to coastal states.

The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee heard testimony on the so-called FAIR Act, legislation that would give coastal states a share of federal royalties from offshore oil production.

Pamela Haze, deputy assistant secretary of finance at the department of the interior, said the White House couldn't support the legislation. She said coastal states already benefit from oil and natural gas development, adding the proposal would "reduce the net return to taxpayers in every state" from offshore energy.

"In addition, the bill does not appear to be targeted to achieve clear conservation or energy policy outcomes," she said in her prepared remarks Tuesday. "For these reasons, the administration cannot support the bill."

Murkowski, a Republican, co-sponsored the bill with Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La. The Alaskan senator said she was dismayed by the government's stance on the measure.

"Coastal states and communities are impacted by and share the risks of energy development off their shores, just like states with development on federal lands within their borders," she said. "It is only fair that they be similarly treated."

Murkowski in February published a 121-page proposal calling for independence from Middle East oil by 2020 through more domestic drilling.

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