U.S. Sens. Lisa Murkowski and Dan Sullivan, both R-Alaska, along with Sens. Bill Cassidy, R-La., John Kennedy, R-La., Doug Jones, D-Ala., and Roger Wicker, R-Miss., recently introduced new legislation to facilitate the equitable sharing of revenues from energy production in the nation’s Outer Continental Shelf.
The bill, entitled the Conservation of America’s Shoreline Terrain and Aquatic Life (COASTAL) Act, includes a title written by Murkowski and Sullivan to establish a revenue sharing program specific to Alaska to provide parity with other onshore and offshore development around the country. This program will provide resources to mitigate the impacts and infrastructure needs of development while providing benefits to the State, coastal political subdivisions, individual communities, and institutions of higher education.
“Revenue sharing has been a longstanding priority for many Alaskans and remains a matter of both fairness and parity for us,” Murkowski said. “We have significant offshore resources, the willingness and ability to responsibly produce them, and it is time to institute a framework that acknowledges our important role. I believe this bill is a strong starting point for a new dialogue and appreciate my colleagues’ support for including Alaska within it.”
“Considering the vast offshore resources available in Alaska, it is critical that we continue making strides towards responsible resource development while protecting the environment and the livelihoods of Alaskans,” Sullivan said. “This bill is a positive step in working towards a system where Alaskans receive their fair share of revenues and support for our coastal communities. I look forward to working with my colleagues as we seek to recognize the essential role that coastal states play in development offshore.”
The Alaska Outer Continental Shelf contains an estimated 27.3 billion barrels of oil and 131.6 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. Under current law, however, Alaska would not receive any revenue from the development of those resources, outside of the nearshore areas designated under Section 8(g) of the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act.
Four Gulf Coast states – Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Texas – currently receive a 37.5 percent share of revenues from energy produced in federal waters. The COASTAL Act increases that share to 50 percent, in line with the nearly 50 percent of revenues that most states receive from energy produced onshore on federal land. Alaska would likewise receive a 50 percent share of offshore revenues, with further allocations and uses delineated in the bill.Murkowski is chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee.