The 110th Congress got off to a running start, particularly in the House where Speaker Pelosi focused on her “100 Hours” agenda. That agenda included, of course, the repeal of several tax benefits for oil and natural gas producers, as well as an effort to force renegotiation of off-shore leases, signed in 1998 and 1999, which inadvertently omitted royalty requirements. The House legislation would use the savings from these tax changes to fund alternative energy development. There are three important take-aways from this debate that are relevant to the INGAA membership. First, the House did not debate any tax changes that impacted interstate pipelines – the focus was on producers, and in particular, the supermajors. Second, the Senate plans to take a much more reasoned approach to reviewing energy tax policy, so major changes in the tax code are months away from enactment (more on that in a moment). And finally, the new Democratic Congress is clearly focused on punishing “Big Oil” and rewarding alternative energy resources through government-funded R&D and tax incentives.
As the new Congress continues to hammer away at “Big Oil,” it will be increasingly important for INGAA to educate new members of Congress and differentiate ourselves from the supermajors. New member education is the primary goal of the INGAA Legislative Affairs Committee for the first six months of 2007.