mark begich Archives - Shopfloor

Now That Taxes Have Been Rejected, How About More Energy?

By | Economy, Energy, Taxation | No Comments

The Senate handily rejected cloture Tuesday on S. 940, the Close Big Oil Tax Loopholes Act, which, shorn of political slogans, was the legislation to raise taxes on oil and gas development in the United States.

The vote was 52-48, with Democratic Sens. Mark Begich of Alaska, Mary Landrieu of Lousiana and Ben Nelson of Nebraska joining Republicans to block the bill that would do nothing to address gas prices, but would discourage U.S. energy security and global competitiveness. Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) was the sole Republican to vote for cloture.

Next up once the Senate convenes at 10:30 a.m. this morning, a motion to proceed on legislation sponsored by Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) to expand domestic oil and gas production. S. 953, the Offshore Production and Safety Act,  mirrors the bill passed by the House last week, H.R. 1299, the Putting the Gulf of Mexico Back to Work Act.

Sen. McConnell summarized the bill on the Senate floor Tuesday: “Our bill would return American offshore production to where it was before this administration locked it up, require Federal bureaucrats to process permits–to make a decision one way or the other: process the permit, make a decision one way or the other–rather than sitting on the permits. And it would improve offshore safety. Our plan not only acknowledges the importance of increasing domestic production, it does something about it, while ensuring environmental safety.”

Alaska’s Senators Debunk ‘Use It or Lose It’ Distraction on Energy

By | Energy | One Comment

Sens. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) and Mark Begich (D-AK) released a joint statement on Wednesday blasting the introduction of S. 600, the “Use It or Lose It” bill. They’re exactly right. From “Sens. Murkowski and Begich Opposed to ‘Use it or Lose it’: Unwarranted Fees on Energy Companies Will Result in Less Production, More Imports, and Higher Prices.”

Murkowski, the ranking member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, said the bill was an attempt to shift blame for rising gasoline prices to energy producers.

“While I don’t accept my colleagues’ analysis, I am glad to see them acknowledge that increasing domestic oil production will help address rising energy prices,” Murkowski said. “Unfortunately, their bill is misguided. Our laws already reflect a use-it-or-lose-it policy; that’s why we have lease terms and a range of lease fees. It is the current administration’s intentional slowdown of the permitting process that is stopping millions of acres onshore and offshore from producing the energy we need. In Alaska, ConocoPhillips and Shell have both seen work on promising oil projects blocked by government obstruction. To hold them responsible – and force them to pay for delays that are not their fault – is simply absurd.”

Sen. Begich: Read More

Senate Hearings from Barrow to Lafayette, Fargo to Lisbon

By | Energy, General, Global Warming, Infrastructure | No Comments

The Senate has gone on recess until September 13, but a few Senate committee chairmen and members are scheduling field hearings during the month away from Washington. They look like interesting sessions, with some manufacturing implications.

The Senate Commerce Committee has a field hearing set for Tuesday in the far, far north of Barrow, Ak., “The Changing Arctic: Implications for Federal Resources and Local Communities.” Sen. Mark Begich (D-AK) is a member of the committee.*

Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA), who chairs the Senate Small Business Committee, is holding a field hearing Tuesday in Lafayette, La., “The Deepwater Drilling Moratorium: An Economic Disaster for Louisiana’s Small Businesses?”

Sen. Kent Conrad (D-ND), chairman of the Senate Budget Committee, is tending to home-state issues with three field hearings in eastern North Dakota. (During the last recess in June, he held field hearings in western North Dakota.)

  • Monday, West Fargo, “Devils Lake Flooding Disaster: A Red River Valley Perspective”
  • Tuesday, Lisbon, “Devils Lake Flooding Disaster: How Should Downstream Impacts be Addressed?” (A great, great location for the hearing: The Stake Out Supper Club and Lounge)
  • Wednesday, Wahpeton, “Transportation Infrastructure’s Role in Economic Growth,” with testimony from representatives from Bobcat and Cargill.

Flooding in the enclosed Devils Lake Basin is an amazing natural phenomenon, the result of 17 wet years during which Devils Lake has risen 30 feet and quadrupled in size. The associated costs are in the hundreds of millions of dollars. (Nearly $200 million for roads alone.)

* The hearing in Barrow was planned before the death of Sen. Ted Stevens, the former chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee. The current chairman, Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-WV), paid tribute to Stevens in a statement.