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Alaska Editorial: Fair shares for all

Posted: July 5, 2013 - 12:05am

This editorial first ran in the Ketchikan Daily News:

Coastal states should share in the revenue generated by oil development off their shores.

The revenue is worth billions of dollars to Alaska, according to Congressman Don Young who voted, along with the majority of House members this week, to pass an offshore revenue sharing bill.

The Offshore Energy and Jobs Act would open new offshore locations to exploration. President Obama would be required to create a five-year leasing plan for United States offshore energy resources containing the most oil and gas.

This won’t happen unless the Senate passes the bill and Obama agrees with it; he will have to sign or let the bill take effect.

Alaska’s Beaufort and Chukchi seas are fertile oil exploration and development properties.

Currently, Alaska receives no offshore oil revenue sharing from the feds. Neither do other states outside of the Gulf of Mexico. But because the provision applies to the Gulf, it is fair that it be in effect for all coastal states. All of the states should be entitled to the same benefits from the federal government. It’s up to them whether they choose to accept those benefits.

“Alaska would be entitled to 37.5 percent of all revenue generated through offshore development, which could mean billions of dollars into the state treasury,” says Congressman Young.

The House has passed similar legislation only to witness it die in the Senate. However, this version of the bill had bipartisan support, which the other didn’t. The new bill allows revenue sharing nationwide, instead of speaking to a specific state.

Oil could be discovered off any state’s shore. Any coastal state would be foolish to disregard the bill. Such an action would be letting a possible financial opportunity pass by; the bill might not be helpful to a state today, but tomorrow.

If the United States is to become an energy-independent state, then oil is a key factor in achieving that.

Oil development on and offshore should be encouraged, and states providing the infrastructure and goods and services necessary to acquire it should be given their fair share.

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