Natural Resources Republicans Enact "Drill Here, Sell There, Pay More" Policies

"Revenue Portion" of Transportation Bill Comes Up Short on Funding, Long on Oil Company Giveaways

WASHINGTON (February 1, 2012) - Republicans on the House Natural Resources Committee today passed several bills that won't provide sufficient funds for a transportation bill needed to rebuild America's infrastructure, but will give away America's coasts and the pristine Arctic Refuge to oil companies already swimming in profits and access to resources. Natural Resources Republicans rejected amendments by Ranking Member Ed Markey (D-Mass.) and other Democrats to keep American natural gas here in America, increase drilling safety, and recover revenue from free drilling in the Gulf of Mexico and from Gulf states and Alaska.

Especially concerning was the rejection by Republicans of Democratic amendments to keep domestically produced natural gas from being exported and protect American consumers and businesses from higher prices. Rep. Markey and Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-Ariz.) offered amendments that would have kept natural gas produced from the lands opened by Republican bills in the United States. Republicans voted down both amendments.

"Republicans have used the slogan ‘Drill here, drill now, pay less', but by voting down these Democratic amendments to keep our natural gas here in America, Republicans are saying ‘Drill here, sell there, pay more'," said Rep. Markey. "Oil and gas companies may want America's natural gas to be sent to foreign markets where prices are higher but American consumers and businesses don't."

The trio of bills passed today in the committee were offered by House Republican leadership as the "revenue portion" for their transportation and infrastructure bill. The current shortfall in America's transportation funding is projected to be $50 billion over the next five years, based on the new Republican bill. Yet the Republican bills to open up America's East and West Coasts and Arctic Refuge to drilling would produce only about $5 billion in revenue over the next ten years. One bill passed today in the committee to increase oil shale development in the Rockies would likely raise no significant revenue whatsoever.

Republicans also voted down amendments by Rep. Markey to recover royalties from free drilling in the Gulf of Mexico. Exxon Mobil, which posted a $41 billion profit in 2011, and other companies are drilling for free in the Gulf of Mexico. According to the Interior Department, American taxpayers stand to lose roughly $9.5 billion over the next 10 years from this free drilling.