The four Gulf Coast states that produce crude oil offshore want a bigger cut of the royalties the federal government gets from drilling on the Outer Continental Shelf to be put toward hurricane protection and coastal restoration.
Representatives from the four states — Louisiana, Alabama, Mississippi and Texas — formed a coalition in August to pursue more funds, Kallanish Energy learns.
They went to Washington this month to lobby White House and Department of Interior staff for a bigger chunk of money from the Gulf of Mexico Energy Security Act, or Gomesa, Meg Bankston, of the Louisiana Governor’s Office of Coastal Activities, told NOLA.com.
Under the law, offshore royalties collected by the federal government are split three ways: Oil-producing states on the Gulf receive 37.5%, the federal Land and Water Conservation Fund receives 12.5%, and the U.S. Treasury gets the remaining half, NOLA.com reported.
Louisiana received $94.7 million for its share of 2018 Gomesa disbursements. Since Gomesa was enacted 13 years ago, the state has allocated most of its share for hurricane protection, Chip Kline, the governor’s coastal adviser and chairman of the Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority, told NOLA.com.
The multi-state group, the Gomesa Revenue Sharing Coalition, aims to increase the coastal states’ share of royalties from 37.5% to 50%, and to remove the $500 million cap on revenue allocated to states.
This effort comes as two bills make their way through Congress that would allocate a greater share of offshore royalties toward outdoor recreation and addressing the maintenance backlog at national parks. Those bills and the coalition are both targeting the U.S. Treasury’s share of royalties.
Industry and environmental groups, including Shell and Restore the Mississippi River Delta, are backing the coalition’s efforts.
“It is our continued belief that offshore producing states deserve an equitable share of the revenues and associated benefits from activities which they host, support and sustain,” a statement from Shell said.
It’s unclear what Congress will do. The effort to use offshore revenue to tackle the $11 billion maintenance backlog at national parks has more than 300 sponsors.
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