Coastal governors unite in push for offshore revenue-sharing bill Read more:

02 23, 2013 by The Hill

A group of coastal governors said it has sharpened its main policy goals: push the White House for faster offshore energy permitting, and coax Congress into passing offshore revenue-sharing legislation.

The top agenda item for Outer Continental Shelf Governors Coalition members Sean Parnell (Alaska), Pat McCrory (N.C.) and Phil Bryant (Miss.), all Republican governors, is securing a bill that would award coastal states more federal revenues for energy developed off their coasts.

“This is a long-term revenue source for states, for the federal government, for the private sector,” Bryant told reporters in a Friday briefing.

Currently, the federal government receives those royalties. Four Gulf Coast states are slated to receive a portion of those revenues beginning in 2017 — though that amount is capped at $500 million.

Sens. Mary Landrieu (D-La.) and Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee ranking member, are working on legislation to change that.

And passing an offshore revenue-sharing bill is a high priority for Senate Energy Committee Chairman Ron Wyden (D-Ore.).

The framework of the Landrieu-Murkowski effort would lift the $500 million cap on revenues, increase the percentage of royalties given to states and include all coastal regions. It also would include provisions for revenues from renewable sources, such as offshore wind.

Parnell said his office has been in discussion with Murkowski’s about the bill, but did not provide any details.

McCrory, meanwhile, said many of his state’s offshore energy battles would take place at the White House.

North Carolina and other Atlantic Coast states are blocked from drilling for oil-and-gas offshore under President Obama’s five-year drilling plan, which runs through 2017.

While McCrory said his state would pursue developing offshore wind, he also wants to tap what’s underneath the water.

“We just want to have our hands untied by the executive branch,” McCrory said.

Congressional Republicans have criticized the Atlantic Coast restriction, noting a decades-long ban on drilling there expired in 2008. The White House had originally intended to allow energy production there, but scaled back its plans following the 2010 BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

McCrory and other Atlantic Coast governors sent a letter to Obama’s Interior secretary nominee, REI CEO Sally Jewell, asking to re-examine the administration’s opposition to drilling off their shores.

McCrory said he plans to get the senators from his state to “get specific questions” answered about where Jewell stands on the issue during her confirmation hearing.

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