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Landrieu: OPEN Act to Expand OCS Drilling, Lift GOMESA Revenue Caps for Coastal States

Press Release

Location: Washington, DC

After passage of the RESTORE Act -- which will dedicate 80 percent of BP's fines from the Deepwater Horizon disaster to the Gulf Coast for recovery and restoration -- U.S. Senator Mary L. Landrieu, D-La., said that the next step after this historic victory is to secure a full share of oil and gas revenues for the coastal states. She pledged to continue her push to increase revenue sharing and lift the current revenue cap of $500 million a year.

As part of that promise, Sen. Landrieu today joined Sens. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska; Jim Webb, D-Va.; John Hoeven, R-N.D.; Mark Warner, D-Va.; and Jim Inhofe, R-Okla.; to introduce the Offshore Petroleum Expansion Now Act of 2012, or OPEN Act. This legislation provides a common-sense alternative to the administration's proposed 2012-2017 Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) drilling plan, adding an additional dozen lease sales. It also allows any state with energy production off its coast to receive 37.5 percent of revenues from certain leases and eliminates the revenue cap.

"This legislation would replace the administration's shortsighted five-year plan for drilling in the OCS, and instead allow the U.S. to tap into the vast oil and gas potential off our coasts. In addition to creating jobs and giving the U.S. economy a much needed boost through increased energy production revenues, this bill includes revenue sharing for coastal states that produce essential energy resources for our country, something that is lacking in other drilling legislation," Sen. Landrieu said. "Since becoming a U.S. Senator, I have fought hard to shed light on the inequity that allows onshore states to receive 50 percent of mineral revenues from energy production, while offshore states receive nothing. In 2006, Congress enacted GOMESA, which starts to address the inequity, by allowing producing Gulf Coast states to receive 37.5 percent of revenues from certain leases. This bill will continue to address the inequity that exists, by allowing all energy producing states, whether oil and gas, or renewable energy, to receive 37.5 percent of revenues from this energy production. It also eliminates the cap that was placed on the amount of money that the Gulf Coast receives from the energy we produce."

In 2006, Sen. Landrieu successfully passed the Domenici-Landrieu Gulf of Mexico Energy Security Act (GOMESA). For the first time, this law secured a 37.5 percent share of offshore oil and gas revenues for Louisiana. This independent revenue stream is expected to provide Louisiana billions of additional dollars in coming decades for flood protection and coastal restoration projects. Phase one of GOMESA brought more than $6 million into Louisiana for 2009 alone. Phase two will bring in ever increasing amounts beginning in 2017. It also provides significant funding to the Land and Water Conservation Fund, which funds the creation of parks and outdoor recreation areas across the country.

GOMESA will serve as a template for similar measures around the country -- and that will enhance U.S. energy security. Senator Landrieu believes that a system that shares the benefits of offshore drilling with the coastal states will foster more domestic energy production while helping to restore coastal areas around the country.

The Domenici-Landrieu Gulf of Mexico Energy Security Act

* Opens more than 8.3 million acres of the Gulf of Mexico to energy production.

* Geologists estimate that this area contains at least:

o 1.26 Billion Barrels of Oil

o 5.8 Trillion Cubic Feet of Natural Gas

* That's enough natural gas to heat and cool nearly 6 million homes for 15 years.

* That's more oil than the proven reserves of Wyoming and Oklahoma combined.

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