I was shocked to learn that the legislation referred to as the “Exxon bill” died in the Alabama Legislature without making it out of the House of Representatives. The measure supported by Governor Bob Riley, Lt. Governor Jim Folsom, Rep. John Knight and others would have raised about $40 million for the state General Fund budget at a time when funding is badly needed. For some unexplained reason, the bill was never even put on special order even though it was on the House calendar for days. ExxonMobil opposed the legislation and I guess that tells the story of why this badly needed bill was never put up for a vote by the House leadership.
The bill, sponsored by Rep. Knight, was never given a chance of passage and that’s a shame. Exxon’s lobbying efforts won this battle, but the powerful oil giant may not have won the war. Hopefully, Governor Riley will give the members of the Legislature another shot at passing this crucial legislation in a special session. It doesn’t make sense to let the Exxons of the world take our natural resources and not pay a fair price to the state for them.
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