So Much For Mary’s “Clout” As Energy Chairwoman

Though Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA) says she has “tremendous influence” and “clout” as the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee Chairwoman, she failed this week to advance three pieces of legislation through her committee which would expand offshore drilling in Louisiana.

This comes despite Landrieu saying that increasing revenue sharing from energy production is her “number one goal.” That does not seem to be the case, however, as Landrieu has been unsuccessful in advancing any legislation that would increase revenue sharing from energy production.

As of right now, there is a “$500 million annual limit on the amount of revenue from offshore production that Gulf States can share. A 2006 law, cosponsored by Landrieu, allowed states to begin sharing revenues in 2017, allotting 37.5 percent for Gulf States, including Louisiana.”

Landrieu’s likely Republican challenger this November, Rep. Bill Cassidy (R-LA), cosponsored legislation that would lift the cap to $1 billion. The legislation would also mandate that the Secretary of Interior start leasing at least 50 percent of offshore lands that are available for production.

The bill, which passed the House on June 26, included an amendment authored by Cassidy that lifted the cap. The amendment had also passed in an energy bill last June, though both bills await action in the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, which Landrieu chairs. A third bill, offered by Landrieu herself, also awaits a vote in the committee.

Landrieu assured constituents and the public that “If I could do what I did as a freshman member of the committee, I think I can deliver what we need as the chairman of the committee.”

And as the story turns out, Landrieu is not advancing Cassidy’s bill through her Senate Energy Committee.

The bill would mandate that President Obama conduct new leasing for offshore drilling and could generate $1.5 billion in revenue in 10 years while creating up to 1.2 million jobs. Also, Cassidy’s bill would allow states to keep 37.5 percent of the revenue generated.

Cassidy’s revenue-sharing amendment was referred to Landrieu’s Senate Energy Committee last July. And yet, nothing has happened since then, even though Landrieu has just recently held hearings in Lafayette, La. asking that offshore drilling be expanded and also expanding revenue sharing throughout the coastal states.

The Cassidy Campaign, though, was quick to call Landrieu out for holding hearings on issues that are currently awaiting her action in the Senate Energy Committee.

“Louisianans want results, not just media events,” Cassidy’s campaign spokesman John Cummins, said in a statement. “If Sen. Landrieu were actually serious about this issue, she would call for a vote on Dr. Cassidy’s revenue sharing amendment which has already passed the House (twice) and has been referred to her committee (twice).”

“This hearing is another example of Sen. Landrieu trying to generate positive media coverage for herself to distract from her ineffectiveness in standing up to Harry Reid’s anti-energy leadership,” the campaign said. “There are already bills that address revenue sharing that have already passed the U.S. House of Representative and are awaiting action in the Senate.”

Cassidy sent a letter to Landrieu last April, asking that she take up the legislation, but there has been no response on Landrieu’s behalf.

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