Washington , DC – Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter has become an original cosponsor of legislation to impose fines on oil and gas companies for not drilling on federal lands that they have already leased.
Some have asserted that the federal government should dramatically increase the land it makes available to companies for drilling. However, oil companies already hold leases for 68 million acres of onshore and offshore public land on which they have not yet drilled. Energy companies do not currently drill on 70% of the onshore federal land and 80% of the offshore federal land for which they hold leases.
“The argument that some people make – that not enough federal land is available for drilling – is just plain false,” Shea-Porter said. “Energy companies aren’t using most of the federal land they have already leased. They should get to work.”
The legislation was introduced by Congressman Edward Markey (D-MA), Chairman of the Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming; Congressman Nick Rahall (D-WV), Chairman of the House Committee on Natural Resources; Congressman Rahm Emanuel (D-IL), Chairman of the House Democratic Caucus; and Congressman Maurice Hinchey (D-NY), a member of the House Committee on Natural Resources. Congresswoman Shea-Porter signed onto the bill as an original cosponsor.
The legislation would assess fees based the period of time the leases go unused. Fees would rise each year a company holds a lease but does not use it to find new sources of energy.
The legislation mandates that revenue raised from the fees would be invested in renewable energy and energy efficiency. A portion of the funds would also be directed to the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP). More than 30,000 New Hampshire familes depend on LIHEAP to help with their home heating needs.