Itta supports offshore revenue sharing proposal in Senate
July 21st, 2011 | Alex DeMarban
Here's a letter from North Slope Borough Mayor Edward Itta supporting a proposal in the U.S. Senate to share federal revenues from offshore development with local communities.
If passed, it would also boost the state's share by millions of dollars.
U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski and Sen. Mary Landrieu, a Democrat from Louisiana, have proposed the revenue sharing in an amendment to a bill that was set to be considered today in the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee.
"The vote was cancelled because we lost a quorum, but there was a big debate," Robert Dillon, Murkowski's aide for the committee, said in an email this morning.
A majority of senators spoke in favor of revenue sharing as a concept, he said.
"And Lisa vowed to spend the next few days to reaching a compromise that will allow revenue sharing and safety to move together," he added.
In the July 20 letter to Murkowski, Itta welcomes the Outer Continental Reform Act of 2011, as the legislation is called, in part because it "addresses many of the statutory shortcomings that contributed to the Gulf of Mexico disaster last year."
The amendment, if passed, could provide welcome revenue to the borough.
"I also know that you will agree with me that it is absolutely critical, as a part of any federal OCS reform legislation, to ensure that Alaska's local communities share in the revenue generated by oil and gas activities in the Arctic offshore, in order to offset regional impacts from oil and gas development onshore," he notes.
The North Slope Borough, which provides costly modern facilities in several Arctic villages, has collected much of its revenue from the oil industry's onshore work. Local leaders fear dwindling oil and gas production on land could eliminate some of those services.
Alex DeMarban can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, or by phone at (907) 348-2444.