Thursday, 05 August 2010 21:35

Louisiana Sen. Landrieu Will Oppose Energy Bills Unless Relief For Gulf States

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WASHINGTON –United States Senator Mary L. Landrieu (D-La.), today told Senate leadership that she will oppose any energy legislation that does not bring relief to the states that have been affected by the BP oil spill. In a letter to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Republican Leader Mitch McConnell, Sen. Landrieu outlined a series of steps the federal government must take to restore both the economy and environment damaged by the oil spill.

Sen. Landrieu plans to re-introduce The Restoring Ecosystem Sustainability and Protection on the Delta (RESPOND) Act this week to include priorities contained in today’s letter to Senate Leadership, among others.  The RESPOND Act, which was originally introduced in May, previously only addressed revenue sharing from oil and gas production.
“As the people of the Gulf Coast recover from this manmade disaster, I will work to ensure that the fines paid by those responsible are directed to addressing those impacts,” Sen. Landrieu wrote.  “Those funds are crucial to the long-term livability and economic health of the Gulf Coast.   For that reason, I ask that you support our effort to ensure that any legislation addressing this oil spill also establishes a dedicated stream of revenue that will assist the impacted states in recovering from this unprecedented disaster.”
In the letter, Sen. Landrieu asked the Senate to establish a dedicated stream of revenue to fund critical projects that enhance the sustainability and resiliency of the Louisiana’s already fragile coast and wetlands. One way to generate these revenues immediately is to accelerate the oil and gas revenue sharing regime established by the Gulf of Mexico Energy Security Act of 2006.
“The Gulf of Mexico Energy Security Act of 2006 marked an important, but incomplete, step toward ensuring that coastal states receive some percentage of the revenues from offshore drilling – and not just 100 percent of the risk,” Sen. Landrieu wrote. “That bill mandated the sharing of offshore oil and gas revenues with the Gulf producing states.  Unfortunately, however, those revenues will not be shared equitably for another seven years under that law – and that is too long for these threatened coastal communities to wait.  The impacts of this spill have created a crisis in the Gulf.  We cannot delay justice any further and I will continue to fight for the acceleration of this critical revenue sharing legislation.”
The Senator is also seeking a commitment to guarantee that no less than 80 percent of any civil and criminal penalties paid by BP under the Clean Water Act are dedicated to the long-term recovery of the Gulf Coast.  Landrieu argues that the Clean Water Act should be changed to direct BP penalties to states impacted the current oil disaster. Those penalties will range between $1,100 and $4,300 per barrel spilled.
“Without a change in federal law, those penalties will be deposited into the Oil Spill Trust Fund to address future spill clean-up and claims,” Sen. Landrieu wrote.  “I believe that this policy should be changed: penalties that are paid following a spill that impacts one state or states should be addressed to the states impacted so that they can use those funds to hasten their recovery.  To do less in the face of this historic spill would be a miscarriage of justice and I hope that you support the Gulf Coast by insisting that these funds be directed to the impacted parties.”
A full copy of the letter can be found by visiting:

Press release

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