I am still puzzling over Monday’s top story in the New York Times by Edmund Andrews.
“At a time when energy prices and industry profits are soaring, the federal government collected little more money last year than it did five years ago from the companies that extracted more than $60 billion in oil and gas from publicly owned lands and coastal waters.
“If royalty payments in fiscal 2005 for natural gas had risen in step with market prices, the government would have received about $700 million more than it actually did, a three-month investigation by The New York Times has found.
“[But due to byzantine federal regulations]… the nation’s taxpayers — collectively, the biggest owner of American oil and gas reserves — have missed much of the recent energy bonanza.”
Now tell me again why Mayor Herenton wants to sell off MLGW? True, our utility does not produce energy. And it’s also true that there would be a short-term financial gain. Further, the Mayor has shown little interest in staffing MLGW with energy (or even management) professionals. But where is the long-term benefit for Memphis taxpayers?
The New York Times piece is a cautionary tale for Memphians.