Feinstein Goes on Offshore Oil Offense

Wants to repeal royalty exemptions

By Jackson West
|  Tuesday, Jun 29, 2010  |  Updated 4:28 PM PDT
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Dianne Feinstein has found some offshore drilling subsidies she might find enough support to repeal.

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Sen. Dianne Feinstein would rather see new offshore drilling banned in American waters in the wake of the ongoing disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, but she unlikely to achieve that, so she at least wants to cut off the gushers of federal subsidy for exploration efforts and new leases.

Citing a report that says the federal government offers more federal subsidies than renewable energy efforts, Feinstein wants to repeal two laws from the Clinton and most recent Bush administrations.

The first, the Deep Water Royalty Relief Act, granted exploration leases issued between 1996 and 2000 an exemption from paying the government royalties on oil produced by wells.

The Energy Policy Act of 2005, which is set to expire, put an oil-price threshold below which producers would not have to pay the government royalties.

Finally, Feinstein has suggested that the Interior Department be stripped of its authority to unilaterally reduce royalties due.

Jackson West would think Gulf state democrats would be more aghast than California legislators, but apparently he would be wrong.

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