Aug 02 2019
Pending Legislation Would Ensure Fair Distribution of Federal Energy Development Income for Gulf Coast
WASHINGTON - U.S. Senator Roger Wicker, R-Miss., today joined U.S. Senators Bill Cassidy, M.D., R-La., and Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, to introduce the Conservation of America’s Shoreline Terrain and Aquatic Life (COASTAL) Act, legislation to strengthen the current offshore energy revenue sharing program under the Gulf of Mexico Energy Security Act (GOMESA).
“Mississippi is a proud contributor to our nation’s energy independence, and our state should receive its fair share of the revenues produced from our resources,” Wicker said. “This legislation would bring parity to revenue sharing agreements for offshore mineral development, ensuring that Mississippi and other states can invest in projects to protect our coasts for future generations.”
Under current law, Gulf Coast states receive 37.5 percent of the government revenues generated from energy produced in federal waters, whereas inland states receive 50 percent of the government revenues generated from onshore energy production on federal land. Further, Gulf States are subject to an arbitrary $500 million cap on revenue that must be split among Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Texas.
In 2018, the Department of Interior distributed more than $8.9 billion in revenues from natural resource extraction. Onshore state and local governments received more than $1.5 billion or 17.7 percent. Gulf States shared approximately $188 million or 2.1 percent.
To address this gap, the COASTAL Act would:
- Increase the share of revenue Gulf Coast states receive from energy production in federal waters from 37.5 percent to 50 percent;
- Increase the revenue available to Gulf Coast states by eliminating the arbitrary $500 million cap;
- Protect GOMESA payments from future sequestration cuts; and
- Ensure oil and gas leases from 2000-2006 are eligible for GOMESA revenue sharing payments
Earlier this year, Wicker cosponsored a Cassidy amendment to the Lands Package that would ensure Gulf Coast states receive their fair share of revenues from any federal mineral development. Last Congress, Wicker sent a letter to the Energy and Natural Resources Committee requesting that parity in revenue sharing be included in any legislation allocating federal mineral revenues.
Joining Wicker, Cassidy and Murkowski in introducing this legislation are U.S. Senators John Kennedy, R-La., Dan Sullivan, R-Alaska, and Doug Jones, D-Ala.