The issue of sharing offshore revenues between coastal states and the federal government, which has failed to gain support in previous Congresses, is expected to have a better chance in the 113th Congress.

After speaking with treasury secretary nominee Jack Lew last month, Mark Begich, the junior senator from Alaska, introduced a bill to share federal energy revenues generated off Alaska’s coasts with Alaska’s state and local governments as well as Alaska’s Native population. Begich’s bill, the “Alaska Adjacent Zone Safe Oil Transport and Revenue Sharing Act,” would provide Alaska with 37.5% of the federal bonus bids and royalty share from any energy development, whether it be fossil or renewable fuels.

Sens Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) and Mary Landrieu (D-LA), who represent large energy producing states, plan to make revenue-sharing — capturing a greater share of revenue from energy production for the states — a major issue in Congress this year. Murkowski is the ranking Republican on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee.

Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR), the new chairman of the Senate energy panel, believes the committee under his leadership may arrive at a solution to the contentious revenue-sharing issue. In the committee over the past couple of years, “there’s been a pretty stark division on this revenue-sharing issue. I think there’s a chance to develop a third path in between those who want no revenue sharing and those who want more revenue sharing,” he said in November (see Daily GPI, Nov. 21, 2012).

The third path would involve the stitching together of a new national coalition of “resource-dependent communities…that have federal land that adjoin federal waters, and [that are] interested in policies that promote job creation, and help to protect their land, air and water,” he said.

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