House Committee Releases Draft Plan for ANWR and OCS Drilling
24 October 2005
House Resources Committee Chairman Richard W. Pombo (R-CA) introduced the Committee’s budget reconciliation plan today, which includes permitting coastal states to engage in natural gas-preferential leasing in federal waters off their shorelines (Outer Continental Shelf—OCS) and authorizing oil and gas drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR).
The committee positions its package as generating a minimum of $2.4 billion for the federal government.
The full Committee will convene for a markup of the budget reconciliation bill on Wednesday, 26 October.
This is an aggressive deficit-cutting measure that raises revenue for Uncle Sam so Uncle Sam doesn't raise it from the taxpayers themselves. We will generate these new revenues by increasing domestic energy supplies at a time when American consumers need them most. America needs more American energy and Congress must cut the deficit. That makes this a win-win package for the American public.—Chairman Pombo
Other elements of the proposed bill besides the opening of ANWR and giving states the ability to control or prevent energy production in the 125 miles of federal waters off their coasts include:
Raising the sale prices of federal mining lands from the current $2.50/acre to $1,000/acre. The proposed increases could raise an extra $155 million over 5 years.
Strengthening the new oil shale program in the Energy Policy Act of 2005 by developing a revenue sharing program with local governments and a leasing program designed to attract huge investment for the U.S. oil shale industry. Under the committee’s bill, the first oil shale lease sales will occur within one year after publication of a final regulation, “offering for lease a minimum of 35% of federal lands that are geologically prospective for oil shale and tar sands within Colorado, Utah and Wyoming.”
This is the second time in three weeks that the House Resources panel has proposed legislation to promote exploration and production in ANWR and expand access to the OCS. The earlier bill did not go to the House floor as Pombo tried to reach a comprise on OCS with Florida Governor Jeb Bush.
The Committee’s action comes less than one week after the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee approved legislative language opening the Coastal Plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to drilling (although avoiding the OCS issue.) (Earlier post.)
The House Resources Committee is proposing that the first lease sale in ANWR be completed within 18 months after enactment of the budget reconciliation package. It further would require the revenues from leasing and other activities to be evenly divided between Alaska and the federal treasury.
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