Nov 19 2019
Pending Legislation Would Ensure Fair Distribution of Federal Energy Development Income for Gulf Coast
WASHINGTON - U.S. Senator Roger Wicker, R-Miss., today applauded committee passage of the Conservation of America’s Shoreline Terrain and Aquatic Life (COASTAL) Act, legislation that would ensure fair distribution of offshore energy revenue under the Gulf of Mexico Energy Security Act (GOMESA). States use GOMESA distributions to support coastal conservation, restoration, and hurricane protection projects. The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee voted to advance the proposal to the full Senate for consideration. Wicker is an original cosponsor of the legislation.
“Today’s vote advances an important piece of legislation for Mississippi,” Wicker said. “Mississippi and the other Gulf states deserve a fair share of energy revenues produced off our shores so that we can invest in projects that will protect our coasts for future generations.”
Under current law, Gulf Coast states receive 37.5 percent of the government revenues generated in federal waters off their coasts, whereas other states receive 50 percent of the revenues generated from mineral production on federal land within their borders. Gulf states are also subject to an arbitrary $500 million cap on revenue that is divided among Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Texas.
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.