Dear Chairman Bingaman & Ranking Member Murkowski,
On behalf of Americans for Tax Reform (ATR) representing millions of taxpaying American families, I urge you to support the following energy principles when considering S. 774, the Dorgan-Voinovich “National Energy Security Act of 2009”, and any amendments made in Committee.
Congress should pass expedited leasing legislation and further restrain from interfering in the leasing of land for energy exploration. Leading economists estimate the U.S. will be reliant on oil and gas for at least the next 30 years. The federal government’s continued interference in the leasing of land for exploratory purposes will ensure our dependence on foreign oil and gas over that time period. Instead, Congress must pass expedited leasing legislation that allows the Mineral Management Service to begin leasing immediately. In doing so, access to domestic energy can occur as early as late 2009.
Congress must safeguard against legal malfeasance and abuse. In Feb. 2008, there were 487 leases issued in Alaska’s Chukchi Sea (holding an estimated 15 billion barrels of oil.) However, due to frivolous lawsuits all 487 leases have been legally challenged and delayed. Currently, there are 748 leases between two major seas in Alaska, the Chukchi and Beaufort, and exploration in every single lease was legally challenged in May of 2008.
Congress should support full expensing for all assets. As America becomes more and more productive, our need for energy increases. Allowing for the full expensing of all assets provides oil and energy producers with the incentive to produce more energy to meet our ever-expanding needs. Increased American supply to fill our growing demand will result in lower prices at the pump for all citizens.
Congress should offer 50-50 profit sharing for the states. The leasing and profits from the leasing of land for energy exploration off the states should occur in a joint-venture matter involving both the federal and state government. Congress should pass a 50/50 royalty sharing plan so that states will be allowed to keep and invest fifty percent of the revenue generated by energy exploration off their state shorelines. The Dept. of Interior estimated $1.4 trillion of revenue just from offshore drilling alone.
ATR supports most tax-revenue neutral legislation that provides increased domestic production of energy and creates additional American jobs. The above principles do not have to be implemented together; rather any attempt to increase energy production to move our country away from foreign dependence is a step in the right direction. Contact Brian Johnson at [email protected] in my office for more information.
Grover G. Norquist
CC: All Members of the U.S. Senate