February 23, 2016

MEMO to Obama on Revenue Sharing: You said Recovery of Gulf Coast a Priority —Your Budget Hurts our Recovery

WASHINGTON— U.S. Senator Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-LA) questioned U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell on President Obama’s fiscal year 2017 budget today, which proposed repealing the existing revenue sharing law.


On the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, the president said he wanted to make the recovery and rebuilding of the Gulf Coast a priority. Dr. Cassidy spoke with the president in the Lower Ninth Ward, pointing out that the devastation brought by Katrina was in part due to the loss of wetlands. He explained revenue sharing is critical to protecting Louisiana from future storm surge since the state’s constitution dedicates 100% of revenue from offshore energy production to coastal restoration. The president agreed—he did not want another Hurricane Katrina. Despite his words, his fiscal year 2017 budget proposed repealing existing revenue sharing law.


Watch the video here and read excerpts below:

CASSIDY: “At the 10th anniversary of Katrina, I was in the Lower Ninth Ward. And of course, the whole area had been devastated and you could still see marks where the water was this high…


“I’m sitting in the midst of this devastation and now the rebirth, with the President thereand I said to the President, ‘Mr. President, do you know that your budget is trying to take away the money that Louisiana is constitutionally directed to use to rebuild our wetlands? I don’t expect you to know this level of detail, but this is what your budget is doing.’


“And he looked over at [Office of Management and Budget Director] Donovan and said, ‘Is this true? It can’t be true.’


“And he gave a little, ‘Well we didn’t know the state would use the money appropriately.’


“I said, ‘Well, constitutionally, we have to use it to rebuild our wetlands.’


“And the president said, ‘We’ll change that. I don’t want this to happen again.’


“And implicit in that, is his understanding that the only way to keep that from happening again, is if we rebuild our wetlands. And low and behold, your budget takes away those dollars.


“…I’d really like to know the kind of thought process associated with that. Because it seems to be a recurring theme in your budgets, a sort of neglect of Louisiana’s needs. And you’ll dispute that characterization, but it’s clear. It’s a neglect of Louisiana’s needs…”


Dr. Cassidy also delivered remarks on the Senate floor defending revenue sharing. Watch the video and read the transcript of that speech here.