IOGCC Calls for National Energy Policy to Address Cost
Coming at a time when a national plan is gathering more support
as energy prices have escalated at the pump and in homes and
businesses, the governors of the 30 U.S. oil and gas producing
states have begun their push for an official national energy
policy, offering their own four-pronged strategy.
The Oklahoma City-based Interstate Oil and Gas Compact
Commission (IOGCC), which represents the governors of the 30
states, said it wants to call attention to the potentially tight
natural gas market expected this coming winter as well as the high
costs put on the nation from imported oil, and said that an energy
policy is the best way to ensure problems are contained ahead of
The four recommendations include the following: methods to
assess the costs of imported oil; increased research to ensure that
domestic oil and natural gas resources are developed to their full
potential without sacrificing environmental protection; tax
incentives to encourage more domestic exploration and production,
modeled after successful state programs like Alaska's; and
"encouraging" the public to use energy efficient technologies to
conserve the limited supply of fossil fuels in the United States.
Oklahoma Gov. Frank Keating and North Dakota Gov. Ed Schafer led
the group's call for a policy last week, and they also underscored
the need for a "full" discussion about the nation's energy future.
"The time for a national discussion is at hand and we invite
citizens and leaders at all levels of government to join us,"
Keating and Schafer said in a statement.
Two things high on IOGCC's agenda to be included in the national
energy policy are repealing net receipts sharing, and giving states
more environmental protection authority.
IOGCC Vice Chairman Lawrence E. Bengal in June advocated the
repeal of net receipts sharing, calling it an "ill conceived,
costly and burdensome program from its inception." Bengal then
urged members of Congress to enact HR 4340, which would replace net
receipts sharing by giving half of the royalties to the states and
half to the federal government without first deducting federal
Net receipts sharing requires states to share the federal cost
of managing onshore mineral royalties. It was mandated by the 1993
Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act, and before it was enacted,
royalties were split equally between the states and the federal
government. In 1999, the IOGCC passed a resolution supporting the
repeal of net receipts sharing.
In May, IOGCC's Alaska Gov. Tony Knowles led the call to support
New Hampshire U.S. Sen. Bob Smith's plan to give the states more
regulatory power when it comes to environmental protection.
"State regulators have successfully shown they can identify
their own environmental issues and have developed creative
solutions to tackle those issues," Knowles said. "In Alaska, for
example, we are proving you can develop the nation's largest oil
fields while maintaining the nation's most pristine environment."
Carolyn Davis, Houston
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