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06 30, 2013 by Daily Advertiser
U.S. Rep. Charles Boustany, R-Lafayette, applauded the House of Representatives vote Friday in favor of the Offshore Energy and Jobs Act, which proponents say could create massive numbers of short-term and long-term jobs and may bolster a federal revenue stream to Louisiana and other states.
The House vote was 235-186. All Louisiana House members voted in favor. The bill would open new areas to offshore drilling by requiring President Barack Obama to implement a five-year offshore lease plan.
“The Offshore Energy and Jobs Act is especially important to Louisiana as it establishes a fair and equitable revenue sharing arrangement,” Boustany said in a statement released by his Washington office. “Oil and gas jobs are vital to Louisiana and our citizens are instrumental in producing the energy America needs.
“Developing our domestic resources will enhance our economy and create jobs at home.”
Boustany’s chief of staff, Jeff Dobrozsi, said the legislation would protect the 37.5 percent of revenue that the state receives from the federal government for new leases under the Gulf of Mexico Energy Security Act. Three other states — Texas, Mississippi and Alabama — also enjoy that portion of offshore drilling revenues, the House Committee on Natural Resources said.
But Dobrozsi said the House legislation would lift a cap on revenues up to $1 billion on the state’s share.
He said experts believe as the Obama administration lifts restrictions on Gulf of Mexico drilling, more drilling rigs will return to the Gulf and, if the act becomes law, Louisiana would enjoy more revenue.
The Natural Resources committee cites on its website research by Dr. Joseph Mason, economist and a professor at Louisiana State University, who has predicted that, nationally, the Offshore Energy and Jobs Act would create 250,000 short-term jobs related to exploration and development and 1.2 million long-term jobs.
A spokesman for the office of U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-New Orleans, said the senator was traveling Friday and could not be reached for comment about the House action. But her office said she has long been an outspoken advocate for oil and gas drilling in the Gulf, and has been promoting her FAIR, or Fixing America’s Inequities with Revenue, legislation, which would also seek greater shares of revenue for Louisiana for the drilling in the Gulf of Mexico.
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