ENERGY POLICY ACT OF 2005 -- (House of Representatives - April 21, 2005)
Mr. JINDAL. Mr. Chairman, I yield myself such time as I may consume.
I rise in opposition to this amendment, and coming from south Louisiana, I would like to provide some guidance and clarify some of the misleading facts that surround this issue.
We know the production off the coast of our State is important to meet the Nation's energy needs. Congress did a good thing back in 1995 in passing the Deep Water Royalty Relief Act. That act did a simple thing. It provided automatic royalty relief for new leases for 5 years in the deep waters of the Gulf of Mexico.
For those who would argue nothing happened, I would say, Look at the numbers. In 1995, we averaged just over 1,200 leases. After that act, the number of active leases increased up to 3,300 leases. This is not a giveaway. We actually generated more, not less, money for the Federal Government. Our lease bid revenues increased from $800 million in 1995 to over $1.5 billion in 1996, almost $2 billion in 1997.
I rise in opposition to this amendment because it would cost the Treasury, and it would decrease the supply of domestic energy which this bill is trying to increase.
Third, this is not a giveaway but rather there are price thresholds and safety mechanics. The Secretary of the Interior already has the regulations and the ability to say, as the MMS does today, if the price of oil is over, let us say, $34 per barrel, these royalty relief provisions do not go into effect.
The language as written is common-sense language that encourages production and allows large investments. We are talking about investments of hundreds of millions of dollars, maybe a billion. We are talking about drilling in deep water where there is great risk. This relief provision allows these companies to get the access to capital they need to take these risks.
I rise in strong opposition to the amendment. The current relief provides jobs in my State and provides energy for our country and lowers the price of energy for our industry.
Mr. Chairman, I yield such time as he may consume to the gentleman from Louisiana (Mr. Melancon).