The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee today passed legislation by U.S. Senator Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-LA), chairman of the Senate Energy Subcommittee, to increase the royalties that Gulf states like Louisiana receive from offshore energy production.
Cassidy’s COASTAL Act increases the percentage of revenue sharing under the Gulf of Mexico Energy Security Act (GOMESA) from a 37.5 percent share of energy produced in federal waters to 50 percent. That brings the offshore percentage in line with onshore energy production.
Louisiana constitutionally dedicates revenues from offshore energy production to pay for conservation, restoration, and environmental projects to preserve and restore its coastline.
“This bill creates fairness between Louisiana and other states. It increases the amount of revenue Louisiana receives to use for coastal restoration, not only preserving our state and communities but also creating jobs,” Cassidy said.
The bill also increases revenue for the Land and Water Conservation Fund’s assistance to states. It removes the cap on how much money states can receive from GOMESA and the conservation fund.
The bill protects GOMESA from sequestration cuts and makes oil and gas leases from 2000-2006 eligible for future GOMESA payments. That change would have meant Gulf Coast states could have received an additional $247 million for environmental protections based on last year’s figures, according to the Department of the Interior.
The Senate will consider the bill as part of a package of energy bills.
A date for the vote has not been set yet.
“I can’t tell you when the vote will take place, but I can tell you there is strong bipartisan support for the entire bill, which our amendment is a part of,” said Cassidy.