In a press release issued yesterday, Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) announced the introduction of the Domestic Energy Security Act (S. 1517), which would authorize revenue sharing for any coastal state that allows new oil and gas exploration. Specifically, the legislation would grant coastal states a 37.5% share in revenues generated from oil and natural gas production in federal waters off their shores. In announcing her support as a co-sponsor of the legislation, Senator Mary Landrieu (D-LA) stated, “As our nation weans itself off foreign oil and transitions to the next generation of energy, we need OCS production in U.S. waters to get us there. Coastal states will play a key role in building that ‘energy bridge’ if Congress can guarantee them their fair share of revenue and conservation royalties."
The bill also would permit leasing in the eastern Gulf of Mexico to within 45 miles of Florida's coast and in the Destin Dome area, which reaches to within 10 miles of the Florida coast near the panhandle.
In response, Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) denounced the new bill, calling it an oil industry bailout. Nelson said, "it's Alaska and Louisiana's senators' plan to boost their own revenues in tough economic times. But even in the toughest of times, there are some things states shouldn't sell out, like Florida's economy and environment.''