March 8, 2006
This afternoon the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee approved by a vote of 16 yeas, 5 nays and 1 present S. 2253, a bill sponsored by Sens. Pete Domenici (R-N.M.) and Jeff Bingaman (D-N.M.) that would require the Department of the Interior to open Area 181 of the Gulf of Mexico for oil and gas leasing. Passage of this legislation out of committee represents a major step toward realizing significant new supplies of natural gas for the American consumer, as the "Lease Sale 181" area is projected to contain up to 6 trillion cubic feet (Tcf) of natural gas, which can be brought to market relatively quickly -- helping to reduce energy costs for hard-hit American households and factories. A hearing was held on S. 2253 on February 16, with testimony by Tom Skains, CEO of Piedmont Natural Gas, on behalf of AGA. (see: Southeast Utility Executive Commends Senate Energy Committee for Continued Focus on Natural Gas Supply) The bill will now proceed to the floor, although a date has not yet been determined. Sen. Mary Landrieu (R-La.), voted 'present' on the bill, and indicated she will attempt to amend the bill on the floor in order to facilitate revenue-sharing of the estimated $11 billion royalties by coastal producing states.
More information on legislation related to access to natural gas supplies can be found here.
AGA legislative contact: Tom Moskitis - 202/824-7031; press contact: Daphne Magnuson - 202/824-7205.