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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This is an archived version of the committee's website, where the public, students and the media can continue to access and learn from our work.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 Statement on API "Study" on Deep Water Drilling


Contact: Chairman Ed Markey, 202-225-4012

Markey Statement on API "Study" on Deep Water Drilling


WASHINGTON (April 22, 2010) – Responding to a study released by the American Petroleum Institute on oil company expenditures related to deep water drilling following the flawed 1995 Deep Water Royalty Relief Act, Rep. Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) countered that while oil companies may have invested billions, they stand to make hundreds of billions from these leases, all without paying royalties due to American taxpayers from drilling on public lands.

"When it comes to oil companies paying their fare share to drill on public land, API stands for ‘avoid, prevent, and impede,’" said Rep. Markey, who has introduced a bill to recoup the fees, and will soon introduce revised legislation to the same effect. "Their argument to the American people is like a tenant saying to a landlord, ‘I paid the deposit, so I shouldn’t have to pay the rent every month.’"

The oil companies are currently avoiding paying a 12.5 percent lease rate on these areas. The Department of Interior is in the process of refunding $2.1 billion dollars to the oil companies on faulty leases granted from 1996-2000. According to an analysis by the majority staff of the Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming, which Rep. Markey chairs, these companies have already made at least $17 billion on the oil from these leases.

In the future, the Select Committee analysis shows that this drill-for-free profit will balloon as more wells start to produce. The General Accountability Office has said that the federal government stands to lose $53 billion over the next 25 years from the oil companies’ free drilling practices. That means, over the lifetime of the leases, the oil companies stand to earn roughly $425 billion in royalty-free drilling.

"The American people aren’t interested in what Big Oil companies spend. Taxpayers care about having oil companies pay their fair share to drill on public land," said Rep. Markey. "My legislation would protect American taxpayers in the future."

The DWRRA legislation was, as the API release admits, only intended to give "temporary relief" from royalties paid to the American people. The legislation was passed in 1995, when the average price of a barrel of oil was under $20.

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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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