On Tuesday the NY Times published an editorial about a 1995 incentive that was given to the oil companies to encourage them to explore for new oil. It's questionable whether they ever needed it, but they certainly don't need it now in this era of much higher oil prices. What is clear is that the sweet deal for Big Oil is leaving a sour taste in the mouths of taxpayers that could cost the government (and us) $54 billion in lost revenues.
Representative Edward Markey of Massachusetts is attempting to right this 15-year-old wrong with a bill that would clarify the law and prevent companies from signing new leases in the gulf until they renegotiate the old ones and pay royalties that are due. Many of these leases are now beginning to yield oil, which will remain free of royalties as long as Congress fails to provide the kind of remedy proposed by Mr. Markey. Make Big Oil pay their fair share!