January 23, 2006- Markey Calls for an Investigation of Big Oil Royalty Relief

WASHINGTON, D.C. – In the wake of a new investigative report by the New York Times revealing that payments made by energy companies are not keeping up with the skyrocketing cost of energy, Representative Edward J. Markey (D-MA) is calling for the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to examine the issue of federal revenues from taxes paid to energy companies.  The Times report cited that if royalty payments in fiscal 2005 for natural gas had risen in step with market prices, the government would have received about $700 million more than it actually did in payments from America’s largest natural gas companies.

“Today’s report reveals that while citizens across the country are penny pinching to pay their heating bills and fill their tanks, the Bush Administration has failed to hold big oil and natural gas companies responsible for their public dues,” said Rep. Markey.  “We discovered today that in natural gas dues alone the U.S. government could have received $700 million of revenue more than were collected.  If these powerful companies owe the American people money – they need to pay their bills like everyone else.  I am calling for an investigation into the oil companies inaccurate reports on their earnings and the sale prices from government lands.”

Rep. Markey is the author of the Windfall Profit and Consumer Assistance Act of 2005 which would also exempt profits that are reinvested by oil companies to increase refinery capacity or invest in new production. 

For more information on Rep. Markey’s work on energy policy check out http://markey.house.gov/

January 23, 2006
 CONTACT: Tara McGuinness