Obama’s offshore oil drilling plan spurs push for billions in royalties
“President Obama’s pledge last week to open huge areas for offshore drilling does more than expand potential oil and gas production. It creates an opportunity to pressure oil companies to pay billions of dollars for past deep-water oil production if they want to drill in the new areas.
At issue is a hotly contested law that, as read by the court, has allowed companies to avoid paying royalties on oil drilled in the Gulf of Mexico. Critics, including Representative Edward J. Markey of Malden — who plans to introduce legislation next week — now seek to force companies such as ExxonMobil and Shell to begin paying on those existing leases as a condition of obtaining new ones. The payments could add up to $50 billion for federal coffers.”
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“Environmental groups say a previous failed pact with a Texas firm has been retooled to make it more acceptable, allowing new platforms but setting an end date for drilling. Not everyone is convinced.”
Offshore drilling plan opposition runs deep