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Rep. Edward J. Markey, Chairman - Stay Connected with Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and RSS Feeds
The Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming addressed our nation's energy, economic and national security challenges during the 110th and 111th Congresses.

This is an archived version of the committee's website, where the public, students and the media can continue to access and learn from our work.

Markey Announces New Legislative Effort to Recover Billions of Dollars from Royalty-Free Drilling

Following Obama Admin. Drilling Plan, Chairman Announces Legislation to Compel Oil Companies Seeking New Areas to Pay Their Fair Share

Following President Obama’s announcement last week of his 5-year offshore drilling plan, Rep. Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) today announced that he would introduce new legislation when Congress reconvenes that would aim to recover billions in lost oil royalties. The legislation would provide a strong incentive to oil companies seeking to drill in the newly opened areas in the Atlantic and Eastern Gulf of Mexico to end royalty-free drilling from leases issued between 1996 and 2000.

“Last week, President Obama announced that he was going to open a new swath of land stretching from Delaware to Florida to oil and gas drilling,” said Rep. Markey. “However, if oil companies want to access these newly opened areas, my legislation would ensure that the American taxpayers get the money they are rightfully owed.”

Because of an oil company court challenge to the 1995 Deep Water Royalty Relief Act authored by the then-Republican majority along with faulty leases offered by the Interior Department in 1998 and 1999, the Interior Department is currently being forced to refund more than $2.1 billion in royalty payments that oil companies had already made from these leases. In addition, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) has estimated that taxpayers could lose an additional $53 billion over the next 25 years as a result of royalty-free drilling when oil prices are high.

“It is time to put an end to Big Oil playing Uncle Sam for Uncle Sucker,” said Rep. Markey. “When the price of oil is above $80 per barrel, subsidizing oil companies to drill through royalty free drilling is like subsidizing fish to swim – you don’t need to do it.”

“When Congress reconvenes, I will introduce legislation that will give oil companies a choice -- they can continue to drill for free as oil prices continue to climb this summer but if they do so, they won’t be able to drill in these newly opened areas. My legislation would end this big giveaway to Big Oil.”

Rep. Markey’s new legislation will be modeled on the Royalty Relief for American Consumers Act that has repeatedly passed the House over the last four years.

PLEASE NOTE: The House Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming was created to explore American clean energy solutions that end our reliance on foreign oil and reduce carbon pollution.

The Select Committee was active during the 110th and 111th Congresses. This is an archived version of the website, to ensure that the public has ongoing access to the Select Committee record. This website, including external links, will not be updated after Jan. 3rd, 2010.

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