U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu grabbed headlines on two disparate fronts last week in her new role as chair of the U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources. On March 19, she touted offshore oil lease sales at the Superdome that she said will bring more than $2 million in royalties to Louisiana and other Gulf Coast states. The next day, Russian strongman Vladimir Putin banned Landrieu from entering his nation in the wake of American sanctions tied to Russia's annexation of Crimea.
Landrieu attributed the Putin ban to her support of U.S. energy policies that allow American companies to compete with Russia's oil and gas interests in Eastern Europe. She called the ban "a badge of honor."
Landrieu, who was among nine U.S. public officials targeted by Putin, said the ban "will not stop me from using my power as chair of the Energy Committee to promote America as an energy superpower and help increase energy exports around the world."
Locally, the offshore mineral royalties touted by Landrieu flow from the Gulf of Mexico Energy Security Act (GOMESA), which she authored and steered to passage in 2006.
Landrieu's 2006 law gradually gives Louisiana up to 37.5 percent of OCS royalties. The full impact of GOMESA will come in 2017, but the state's share is capped at $500 million. Landrieu is pushing another law, the Federal Activities Inventory Reform (FAIR) Act, to lift the cap.