Alaska's two senators are taking aim at a the "Use it or Lose It" measure reintroduced by Florida Sen. Bill Nelson that would require oil companies to pay a per acre fee for oil leases they're not using.
But Sens. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, and Mark Begich, D-Alaska, said the bill -- which they called misguided -- "would penalize companies for leasing federal lands and waters for energy production.
"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," Murkowski said in a statement. "To hold (oil companies) responsible and force them to pay for delays that are not their fault -- is simply absurd."
Nelson and New Jersey Sen. Bob Menendez say there are tens of millions of acres that are already leased but not in production.
"It's like the oil companies want to be taken out for dinner when they have a full kitchen," quipped New York Sen. Chuck Schumer who backs the legislation to require companies with leases to submit plans to "diligently develop" federal lands and pay a $4 fee on acres that are not developed.