The Outer Continental Shelf Deepwater Royalty Relief Act — or — Why Big Oil Drills in Deep Water

June 25, 2010

Originally posted in the Spout-Off Forum of the Cape May County Herald, this post is intended to supplement Matthew J. Novak’s article and blog at, Bashing BP (For Doing Exactly What Government Led Them to Do), with links to further information about the Outer Continental Shelf Deepwater Royalty Relief Act (DWRRA), and its origin and purpose.  Congress passed DWRRA in 1995 to give Big Oil an economic incentive to drill in deep water.

John Johnston (D-Louisiana) sponsored S.158: Outer Continental Shelf Deep Water Royalty Relief Act in 1995. That bill was not voted on, but its text was incorporated into S. 395: Alaska Power Administration Asset Sale and Termination Act as Title III of that act. It was signed into law by President William Jefferson Clinton (D-Arkansas) on November 28, 1995 and became P.L. 104-58. Seventy-five percent of the Senate voted Yea. Eighty-four percent of the House of Representatives voted Yea on a resolution in support of the legislation. Looking at the vote counts, notwithstanding the stated glitch, I’d say that Democratic incohesion on the bills was slightly less soul-crushing than the Republicans’ near unanimity in favor of the bills.  Read the rest of this entry »