What a guy: Rep. Cedric Richmond (D-La.), arguing on behalf of proposals that would enrich his oil-slicked state by directing the federal government to hand over more royalty money from offshore drilling, said Louisiana deserves the cash because it bears the brunt of the risks from oil production. "So that's a sacrifice that we make for people [in places like] California to be able to turn on their lights," he said during a House debate.
Thanks, congressman, but really, you needn't trouble yourself. California gets 0.01% of its electricity from oil, so if you don't want Louisiana to be the scene of the next BP-style oil spill disaster, you don't have to keep drilling on our account.
Gulf Coast leaders have been pushing for years to win a revenue-sharing deal in which states would collect 37.5% of the federal royalties derived from drilling off their coasts. They scored a partial victory in 2006 when four gulf states, including Louisiana, were awarded just such a deal. But Louisiana Democratic Sen. Mary L. Landrieu, among others, still isn't happy; last week, during President Obama's visit to her state to assess the damage from Hurricane Isaac, she urged him to extend the arrangement to all coastal states. Landrieu would also like to cut some of the strings tied to the money by Congress: She wants to eliminate a $500-million collective cap that was placed on the four states, and to collect the money sooner than the current start date of 2017.