06.17.21

Cassidy, Whitehouse Introduce Bill to Strengthen Gulf Revenue Sharing Program

Bill creates revenue sharing from offshore wind, funds coastal resiliency

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-LA) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) today introduced the Reinvesting in Shoreline Economies & Ecosystems (RISEE) Act. The RISEE Act would both amend the Gulf of Mexico Energy Security Act (GOMESA) and create a new dedicated stream of funding from future offshore wind development for coastal protection and resiliency. This will allow for more equitable resource sharing between states, the federal government and conservation programs. Senators Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-MS), Chris Coons (D-DE), Tim Kaine (D-VA), Brian Schatz (D-HI), Angus King (I-ME), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), and Roger Wicker (R-MS) have signed on as original co-sponsors.

“Louisiana has learned to use money from offshore energy production to rebuild our coastline and protect our communities. This bill takes the lessons that Louisiana has learned and adds more funding. This helps Louisiana and will also help other coastal states as they copy what Louisiana is now doing,” said Dr. Cassidy.

“With climate change bearing down on us, coastal states like Rhode Island need vastly more resources to protect vulnerable homes and businesses from rising seas and other increasingly urgent threats,” said Senator Whitehouse. “Our bill will allow states to get a share of federal revenues from the growing offshore wind industry to make those much-needed investments.”

Gulf of Mexico energy royalties are shared by four Gulf energy producing states (Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas), conservation programs, and the U.S. Treasury.

The bill amends GOMESA by:

  • Eliminating the state revenue sharing cap, currently at $375 million.
  • Increasing the amount of GOMESA revenues shared with states from 37.5% to 50%.
  • Lifting the Land & Water Conservation Fund’s state side funding cap of $125 million.
  • Adding the National Oceans and Coastal Security Fund as a fourth GOMESA equity (12.5%).
  • Making oil and gas leases from 2000-2006 eligible for future GOMESA payments to Gulf coast states and the National Oceans and Coastal Security Fund. Currently, only leases from 2007 to present are eligible for GOMESA payments. EIA reports 11 new oil and gas fields in the Gulf of Mexico will contribute to the overall growth in U.S. production are GOMESA eligible under current law. Another eight would also qualify under this proposed change.
  • Protecting GOMESA revenues from sequestration.

Louisiana constitutionally dedicates revenues from offshore energy production to pay for conservation, restoration, and environmental projects to preserve and restore its eroding coastline.

Current law requires all revenues generated from offshore wind leases and production beyond state waters be deposited in the U.S. Treasury. The RISEE Act sends 50% of offshore wind revenue to adjacent states where offshore wind farms are developed. The state share is based on a formula developed by the Secretary of Interior to ensure states are receiving revenues from wind energy development off their coasts. By sharing offshore wind revenues with nearby states, the RISEE Act will offer budget incentives for state and local governments to facilitate successful siting processes, balancing the needs of different ocean users and getting turbines up and running.

The state funds can be used:

  • For coastal restoration, hurricane protection, or infrastructure;
  • To mitigate damage to fish, wildlife, or other natural resources, including through fisheries science and research; and
  • To implement a marine, coastal, or conservation management plan.

In addition, 37.5% of offshore wind revenues would serve as a further dedicated funding source for the National Oceans and Coastal Security Fund. This Fund includes dollars to States based on a formula and also provides competitive grants to coastal and Great Lakes communities to respond to coastal erosion and sea level rise, restore coastal habitat, and make improvements to coastal infrastructure.

In Louisiana, supporters include:

  • House Speaker Pro Tempore Tanner Maggee
  • State Senator Bret Allain
  • Terrebonne Parish President Gordy Dove
  • House Appropriations Chair Zee Zeringue
  • State Representative Ryan Bourriaque
  • Northshore Legislative Delegation
  • St. Tammany Parish President Mike Cooper
  • St. John the Baptist Parish President Jaclyn Hotard
  • Cameron Parish Policy Jury President Scott Trahan
  • Lafourche Parish President Archie Chaisson
  • Greater New Orleans Expressway Commission
  • St. Tammany Parish Development District
  • LA-1 Coalition
  • Bayou Industrial Group
  • St. Tammany Parish Government
  • St. Tammany Chamber of Commerce
  • Jefferson Parish Chamber of Commerce
  • Association of Levee Boards of Louisiana
  • RESTORE or RETREAT
  • Morganza Action Coalition
  • Nicholls State University
  • North Lafourche Levee District
  • GNO Inc
  • Iberia Parish Governemnt
  • River Region Chamber of Commerce
  • Cameron Parish Port, Harbor and Terminal District
  • Morgan City Harbor and Terminal District
  • Lake Charles Harbor and Terminal District
  • Plaquemines Association of Business and Industry
  • St. Bernard Parish Govenrment
  • Greater Lafourche Port Commission
  • Parish Presidents of Louisiana Association
  • Parishes Advocating for Coastal Endurance
  • South Central Industrial Association
  • Coaltion to Restore Coastal Louisiana
  • Port Association of Louisiana
  • Assumption Parish Police Jury
  • Louisiana Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority
  • Chenier Plain Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority
  • Coastbuilders Coalition
  • Restore the Mississippi River Delta Coalition
  • Bayou Lafourche Fresh Water District
  • Lafourche Chamber of Commerce
  • Ponchartrain Conservancy

The RISEE Act is supported by the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation, Environmental Defense Fund, National Audubon Society, American Sportfishing Association, Citizens for Responsible Energy Solutions, Ørsted, American Clean Power Association, National Wildlife Federation, National Marine Manufacturers Associations, Coastal States Organization, Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership, American Shore & Beach Preservation Association, National Ocean Policy Committee, Trust for Public Land, The Nature Conservancy, City Parks Alliance, National Recreation and Park Association, and Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management.

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