Responding to the House of Representatives action on the Fiscal 2007 appropriations bill, the National Association of Manufacturers expressed extreme disappointment that legislators continued to weigh down industry forced to deal with high energy costs and regulations. Of note was last week's passage of an amendment sponsored by Reps. Maurice Hinchey (D-NY) and Edward Markey (D-MA) that effectively blocks access to existing leases for deep water exploration and development of oil and natural gas resources in the Gulf of Mexico.
By a 252-to-165 vote, the House also approved the provision requiring energy companies that hold offshore leases from 1998-99 to pay additional royalties to continue those leases within the upcoming 2007-2012 five-year lease plan to be issued by the Minerals Management Service.“It's bad enough that federal moratoria already block access to 85 percent of the outer continental shelf for development of much needed oil and natural gas,” said Bryan Brendle, the association's director of energy and resources policy. “However, now many lawmakers appear to be willing to build additional barriers to already existing leases.
“If lawmakers really want to address our energy crisis, they need to unlock our vast energy resources in the OCS – not institute additional barriers,” continued Brendle.
The association also criticized an amendment to last week's appropriations bill sponsored by Reps. Hilda Solis (D-Calif.) and Frank Pallone (D-N.J.) preventing the Bush Administration from moving forward with reform of the EPA's Toxics Release Inventory program. The association is committed to streamlining the TRI program to collect necessary information at a minimal burden to reporting industries.