Friday, June 20, 2008
Two pieces of legislation to achieve this goal were introduced today: the Responsible Ownership of Public Lands Act and The Responsible Federal Oil and Gas Lease Act of 2008.
Democratic Caucus, view the bill...
The Responsible Ownership of Public Lands Act would assess a fee on land energy companies have leased but are not using for production. This fee will escalate if leases go unused over the course of several years.
WASHINGTON – House Democratic Caucus Chairman Rahm Emanuel, Rep. Maurice Hinchey, Chairman Edward J. Markey and Chairman Nick Rahall today announced plans to introduce legislation that will help lower gas prices by compelling oil companies to utilize the 68 million acres onshore and offshore that are being leased by big oil companies, but not used to produce energy. The members were also joined by Reps. John Yarmuth and Peter Welch.
Currently, oil companies are not producing oil or gas on the nearly 68 million acres of federal land already under their control. Offshore, big oil is producing on only about 20 percent of the acres they hold, while onshore, companies are producing on less than 30 percent of the acres they hold. These unused areas could produce an additional 4.8 million barrels of oil and 44.7 billion cubic feet of natural gas each day, nearly double current domestic oil production.
“... By stalling energy production, these major energy corporations are cheating the American people out of a domestic oil and natural gas supply, causing prices to unfairly and unnecessarily soar at the pump. The federal government has made tens of millions of acres available for oil and gas development. It's the energy companies that are refusing to produce and now we will make them pay if they continue to refuse to increase our domestic supply.”
“Big Oil seems more concerned with pumping up prices than pumping more oil,” said Markey. “When Big Oil already has tens of millions of acres available to them right now, it’s cynical of them to come to Congress and ask for more drilling territory. This is a drilling decoy. With gas prices increasing by the day, it’s time for Big Oil to produce or pay.”
“It's time for oil companies to use it or lose it,” added Emanuel. “These companies have access to millions of acres and there is nothing stopping Big Oil from using this land to produce energy.”
The House Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming was formed by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) to increase the visibility and priority given to America's oil dependence and global warming challenges. It is chaired by Rep. Edward J. Markey (D-MA) and will actively explore the solutions, science and progress on these pressing issues during the 110th Congress.