Reps. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) and Rush Holt (D-N.J.) today introduced legislation that would raise roughly $19 billion over the next 10 years to reduce the U.S. budget deficit by ensuring oil, gas and mining companies are paying a fair price to use public resources. The legislation, called the Fair Payment for Energy and Mineral Production on Public Lands Act, would close loopholes that currently allow oil, gas and mining companies to drill and mine resources that belong to the American people for free. The bill would also ensure that taxpayers get a proper return when oil and mining companies use public resources.
"At a time when American families are having a tough time putting food on the table, there is no excuse to continue the free lunch policies for oil, gas and mining companies," said Rep. Markey, the Ranking Member of the Natural Resources Committee. "Rather than following the GOP strategy of giving away more public lands to these extractive industries, we should ensure that the industries looking to use our resources will pay American taxpayers what they rightfully deserve."
"It makes no sense for American taxpayers to subsidize the most profitable companies in the history of the world," said Rep. Holt, the Ranking Member of the Energy and Minerals Subcommittee. "As the supercommittee seeks to cut hundreds of billions of dollars in federal spending, the clear place to start is by eliminating these Big Oil giveaways and by ensuring that American taxpayers are fairly compensated for oil and gas extracted from our public lands."
The legislation was also cosponsored by Democratic Reps. Grijalva, Kildee, Napolitano, Bordallo, and Christensen.
The legislation proposed by Natural Resources Democrats, along with other proposals included in their suggestions to the debt supercommittee, would save tens of billions of dollars that could be used to reduce our national budget deficit and pay down our national debt. In contrast, proposals by Natural Resources Republicans would likely only raise a few billion dollars over the next ten years.