Louisiana families and businesses are feeling the pain of record high gasoline prices. Congress must act quickly to enact a national energy policy that will increase the supply of oil, explore alternative energy solutions, and lower gas prices.
In order to decrease our dependence on foreign nations for energy, Congressman Steve Scalise will work with his colleagues in Congress to increase domestic oil supply. Congressman Scalise is an adamant supporter of lifting the existing moratoria on oil and gas leasing in the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS), the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR), and the oil shale lands in Colorado, Wyoming, and Utah.
The Department of Interior recently released a comprehensive inventory of OCS resources that estimated reserves of 8.5 billion barrels of oil and 29.3 trillion cubic feet (tcf) of natural gas. Another 86 billion barrels of oil and 420 tcf of natural gas are classified as undiscovered resources. ANWR consists of 19 million acres in northeast Alaska. According to the U.S. Geological Survey, there is a chance that taken together, the fields on this federal land could hold as much economically recoverable oil as the giant field at Prudhoe Bay, found in1967 on the coastal plain west of ANWR. That state-owned portion of the coastal plain is now estimated to have held 11 billion to 13 billion barrels of oil. The resource potential of these oil shale lands is estimated to be the equivalent of 1.8 trillion barrels of oil in place.
Even with all of the available resources right here in our own country, America continues to import billions of barrels of oil each year from foreign countries. In the first quarter of 2008, the United States imported approximately 2.3 million barrels of crude oil each day from Middle Eastern countries like Saudi Arabia and Iraq. America's dependence on foreign oil has left us vulnerable to foreign markets, and consumers have literally paid the price over the past two years as gas prices have increased more than 66 percent since the beginning of 2007. Congressman Scalise will work everyday to reserve the backward policies that prevent us from utilizing our nation's vast natural resources and reduce our dependence on foreign oil.
On a local level, Louisiana has a unique opportunity as one of the major energy producers for the country. Louisiana contributes nearly a third of all the oil and gas produced domestically, and has the greatest concentration of crude oil refineries, petrochemical production facilities, and natural gas processing plants in the Western Hemisphere.
In addition to producing more domestic oil, Congress must encourage newer, cleaner, and reliable sources of energy like advanced nuclear and next generation coal, while promoting clean power from renewable sources of energy such as wind and hydroelectric power. It is equally imperative that Congress work to cut federal bureaucratic red tape that has limited necessary refinery capacity in the United States. Our nation must also encourage greater energy efficiency by offering conservation tax incentives to Americans who make their home, car, and business more energy efficient.
While we must pursue alternative sources of energy, American families need a strong national energy policy today that explores the existing oil and gas reserves we have here in America and off our nation's coast. Congressman Scalise will continue to be a vocal advocate for lowering gas prices in our country.
Grow American Supply (GAS) Act of 2008
Congressman Scalise has introduced the Grow American Supply (GAS) Act of 2008. This legislation will lower gas prices by increasing American supply of oil and natural gas and will provide Louisiana a fair share of its offshore oil and gas revenue.
The GAS Act opens up the OCS past 75 miles offshore for areas where drilling is currently prohibited and will lift the current leasing moratorium on the oil shale lands in areas like Wyoming, Colorado, and Utah. The bill also provides incentives to companies to bring oil and gas into production more quickly.
The GAS Act also provides Louisiana a greater share of offshore oil and gas revenues to allow us to make immediate investments in restoring our vanishing coastline and protecting our valuable wetlands.
Currently, Louisiana receives 27% of revenue between 3 and 6 miles of its coast and no revenue from any offshore leasing activity beyond 6 miles of its coast. Legislation that passed the Congress in 2006 will provide Louisiana with a share of offshore revenue, but Louisiana cannot receive that revenue until 2017. Even in 2017, Louisiana will only receive a portion of 37.5% of the revenue generated by offshore activity; that revenue will be shared among Louisiana, Texas, Mississippi, and Alabama; and the amount of revenue that is shared cannot exceed $375 million per year for the coastal states.
Congressman Scalise's GAS Act allocates up to 75% of revenue from drilling within 12 miles of its coast beginning in 2008. The bill will also provide Louisiana a share of up to 50% of revenue from drilling activity beyond 12 miles of its coast.
Louisiana has always been willing to contribute more than its fair share to provide energy to the rest of the country, and our state deserves the federal government's support for these efforts. States with onshore drilling like New Mexico receive up to 50 percent of the oil revenues within the state. Our state plays too large a role in our nation's energy security, and we deserve to be able to participate in the same revenue sharing that other states enjoy. We are not asking for handouts, just a fair share of what is deservedly ours. Congressman Scalise believes the GAS Act is critical to address America's growing dependence on Middle Eastern oil and imperative to helping Louisiana restore America's wetlands.