Law by Landrieu Nets Louisiana & Gulf $2.16M for Coastal Restoration
Senator calls for accelerated payments, lifting arbitrary $500M cap on Gulf state
NEW ORLEANS —Louisiana and the Gulf Coast will receive at least $2.16 million from today’s lease sale at the New Orleans Superdome to restore its coast thanks to the Gulf of Mexico Energy Security Act (GOMESA) authored and passed by U.S. Senator Mary L. Landrieu, D-La., the chair of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee. Billions more are expected over the course of the leases. Nine leases auctioned today are part of Phase I of GOMESA that allow Louisiana and energy-producing state in the Gulf to share 37.5 percent of the revenues generated in bids, bonuses, royalties and rental payments. GOMESA, which Sen. Landrieu passed in 2006 with Pete Domenici, R-N.M., opened up 8.3 million acres in the Gulf for new exploration and drilling—the first time in a quarter-century. Today is the second time that Louisiana has received revenues under GOMESA.
“For years, Louisiana has had the plans to restore its wetlands and protect its coastal communities from storms, but we haven’t had the money. I passed GOMESA to establish a long-term revenue stream and to provide us with a fair share of the revenues generated from the energy developed and produced along our working coast. When it comes to protecting our coast, it is time to stop studying and start building, and the money generated from today’s leases will help us take a step forward in that effort,” Sen. Landrieu said.
Revenue sharing for the other leases, which would have provided energy-producing states in the Gulf and Louisiana $318 million, begins in 2017. While the revenues Louisiana will receive from today’s auction is welcomed news, Sen. Landrieu again called for the passage of her bipartisan FAIR Act that will accelerate the date for all payments, lift the arbitrary $500-million cap and expand revenue sharing to all coastal states whether they produce oil and gas, wind, wave or solar energy.
Sen. Landrieu continued: “Last year alone, Louisiana generated $7 billion off its coast from energy production for the Treasury but received virtually nothing back, and today we missed out receiving $318 million from the lease sales. We must pass the FAIR Act to accelerate the payment date of the other leases auctioned today, lift the arbitrary $500-million cap and extend this partnership to all coastal states—no matter what type of energy they produce offshore.”
Local and state officials praised Sen. Landrieu for her leadership that was critical to pass GOMESA and secure $2.16 million from today’s lease sale.
Reggie Dupre, executive director of the Terrebonne Levee and Conservation District: “With GOMESA capturing a fair share of the revenues from today's lease sale and Louisiana's constitutional amendment to direct those funds to coastal restoration, we can begin taking the initial steps of building our coastal master plan. Restoring our coast and protecting our communities from storms will allow the people of Louisiana to continue providing this country with the reliable and affordable energy it needs for continued economic growth. Sen. Landrieu has led the effort to restore our coast for nearly two decades, and today is a reminder of how her work will help the people of Terrebonne.”
Lafourche Parish President Charlotte Randolph said: “Today's lease sale is critical to not only support our economy, but sustain our coast. Because of GOMESA, Louisiana and the people of Lafourche Parish will receive a fair share of the revenues generated off of these leases that will be integral to protecting coastal residents and the communities we call home. Sen. Landrieu has been a tireless advocate for saving our coast, and this latest lease sale's proceeds will go towards that effort, thanks to her.”
Simone Maloz, executive director of Restore or Retreat said: “Just a few miles from open water, today's lease sale in New Orleans marks another return on investment Louisianians will see for their decades of hard work poured into their producing coast. Thanks to Sen. Landrieu’s GOMESA, we will finally able to put a share of the billions of dollars in revenues generated off our shores from today’s lease sale right back into restoring our irreplaceable coast, community and culture. But our work is not done. We need Congress to pass the FAIR Act so that we receive a portion of the revenues from all the lease sales in the future. The more revenue-sharing funds we return to Louisiana through the FAIR Act, the stronger our national investment will be in protecting energy and seafood production, navigation, and culture.”
In 2006, Sens. Landrieu and Domenici, then Senate Energy Chairman, built a bipartisan coalition and passed GOMESA to provide Louisiana and the three other Gulf Coast states with 37.5 percent of the offshore revenues generated. The revenues will be used for wetlands restoration, hurricane protection and flood control projects. Louisiana further buttressed the money's dedicated use by passing a constitutional amendment that specifically directs the funds to these pressing needs.