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Commentary: Congressmen Seek To Take Oil And Gas Revenues From Louisiana, Coastal States

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Landrieu crosses party lines to defend 2006 legislation

Democratic Representatives Ed Markey of Massachusetts and Rush Holt of New Jersey are determined to repeal 2006’s Gulf of Mexico Energy Security Act, authored by Louisiana’s Sen. Mary Landrieu, which would rob Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Texas of billions of dollars in mineral revenues in the future.

Markey has filed legislation which would repeal Landrieu’s 2006 triumph, which gives Louisiana and the other coastal states 37.5 percent of offshore oil and gas revenues starting in 2017. According to Markey and Holt, this law unfairly benefits a few states, in turn hurting the majority of the nation. If Markey and Holt succeed, coastal states would lose out on approximately $150 billion over the next 60 years, according to Department of the Interior estimates.

Rep. Markey’s description of the revenue stream as “oil-well welfare” overlooks the environmental risk which  Gulf states expose themselves to in order to provide the rest of the nation energy. This was exemplified by the BP oil disaster, which occurred because the federal agency Mineral Management Service abdicated its duty in safe-checking drilling operations.

It would not be cynical to chalk this effort up to a continuation of the liberal assault on a secure energy policy for the country. The Gulf States, Louisiana included, have continually opposed Washington’s efforts to impose a moratorium, followed by a “permitorium,” on Gulf oil drilling. This has incited oil-state Democrats such as Sen. Landrieu to cross party lines and oppose Obama Administration energy policies.

The losses Louisiana would be looking at transcend mere revenues. As noted by Congressman Jeff Landry, these revenues would be going towards badly-needed coastal restoration. Much coastal erosion has been the man-made result of constructing waterways to facilitate exploration which benefits the rest of the country. If Reps. Markey and Holt win, however, these revenues would disappear into the coffers of the federal government.

This debate is a continuation of the stalemate pitting Gulf coastal states against Washington following the oil spill disaster. Once again, an ever-expanding federal government seeks to usurp the remaining independence of states. The irony, as pointed out by Rep. Doc Hastings, is that if the Obama energy policy continued unfettered, there would be far less oil and gas revenues for Washington to claim as its own.

Jamison Beuerman is a contributing writer and policy analyst at the Pelican Institute for Public Policy. He can be contacted via email at or followed on twitter @jbeuerman.

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