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The best legislation — whether in Juneau or Washington, D.C. — is that which helps state economies. If the states do well, the communities do well. If the states are fiscally healthy, the federal government has at least a better chance of the same fortune.
The feds, as it is with communities and states, must check irresponsible spending. But this country cannot be economically well without healthy states.
It is with that in mind that it's appropriate to applaud the Fixing America's Inequality with Revenues Act. The FAIR act is designed to ensure that all energy-producing states receive a fair share of the revenues they responsibly produce. Responsibility translates into clean energy and lack of waste when it comes to energy.
Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, and Sen. Mary Landrieu, a Democrat from Louisiana, introduced the act Wednesday.
"The federal treasury benefits from the royalties and taxes on production in federally owned waters off Alaska's coast," Murkowski says. "Providing a portion of that money to Alaska would help the state strengthen its emergency response capabilities and build critical infrastructure, such as airfields, deep-water ports and docks that will help safely open the Arctic, which will further increase federal revenues."
If approved, the act would provide up to 37.5 percent of all revenue from offshore development to coastal states, according to Murkowski's office. The act covers revenue from oil and gas as well as wind, wave and other alternative and renewable energy sources.
The act notes that states would receive 27.5 percent of the revenue, 25 percent of which would be directed toward coastal communities affected by offshore oil development. An additional 10 percent would be available to states that establish funds to support clean-energy and conservation projects.
The act also provides a 50-percent share for onshore projects involving renewable energy production on federal land.
Even with the act, the federal government would receive 62.5 percent of the offshore-oil development revenue.
Obviously, this act makes sense for coastal states. But it's also advantageous to any state pursing alternative energy projects. It could be an encouragement to all states in terms of energy.
As for Alaska, Alaskans should lobby Congress and President Obama to support this act. It would be good legislation not only for Alaska and other states, but for the whole United States.