WASHINGTON— U.S. Senator Bill Cassidy, M.D. questioned U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz in a Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee hearing on the administration’s plan to take away Gulf of Mexico Energy Security Act (GOMESA) money that is promised to Louisiana for coastal restoration.
Watch the committee video here and read excerpts below:
CASSIDY: …Would you agree that we should take whatever steps we can to make Louisiana’s coastline more resilient? So that as these LNG export facilities are being built, they’re not going to get wiped out, as you mention on page 13 [of your testimony]? Or the refinery capacity that you spoke of going down after Hurricanes Rita and Katrina were preserved even in the setting of another storm?
MONIZ: Absolutely, the Gulf is obviously, as you well know, absolutely critical energy hub for the whole country. The coastline issues, the storm surge issues are very, very important for the Gulf, and therefore, I think, for the country’s energy system.
CASSIDY: Thank you for saying that, I will point out that both Senator Cantwell’s energy statement as well as the Department of Interior’s would take the money that Louisiana is slated to receive under the GOMESA program, which by our state’s constitution has to be used for coastal restoration, and redirects it elsewhere. It removes the very resources needed to increase that resilience, that you, several times in your testimony, point the national importance thereof. …I can’t understand why people who are concerned about rising sea level rise are taking resources away from Louisiana, which is so critical to our Nation’s infrastructure.