07.21.22

Senate Energy Committee Advances Cassidy Bill to Send Louisiana Billions for Coastal Restoration

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources voted to advance U.S. Senator Bill Cassidy’s (R-LA) Reinvesting in Shoreline Economies & Ecosystems (RISEE) Act on Thursday, which would increase funding from offshore energy revenue sharing that   Louisiana uses for coastal restoration. The bill would also amend the Gulf of Mexico Energy Security Act (GOMESA) to, among other things, remove the revenue sharing cap which could bring billions of additional dollars to Louisiana and the Gulf Coast region.

Currently, Gulf of Mexico energy royalties are shared by four Gulf energy-producing states, including Louisiana, with the U.S. Treasury. Louisiana uses this funding for conservation, restoration, and environmental protection projects to preserve and restore its eroding coastline, however, offshore wind revenue is excluded from the program. Cassidy’s RISEE Act would also create a new national revenue sharing from offshore wind.

“This is another step in getting the $50 billion Louisiana needs to restore our coastline. This is important for our state and for our country,” said Dr. Cassidy. “There is much more to do, but every step gets us closer to protecting our communities and our people.”

This legislation is also cosponsored by U.S. Senators Angus King (I-ME), Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-MS), Chris Coons (D-DE), Tim Kaine (D-VA), Roger Wicker (R-MS), Brian Schatz (D-HI), John Kennedy (R-LA), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Martin Heinrich (D-NM), and Richard Blumenthal (D-CT).

The bill amends GOMESA by:

  • Eliminating the state revenue sharing cap, currently at $375 million.
  • Lifting the Land & Water Conservation Fund’s state side funding cap of $125 million.
  • Creating a new national offshore wind revenue sharing program with revenues divided as follows: 50% to the Treasury, 37.5% to states, 12.5% to the National Oceans & Coastal Security Fund. How eligible states will receive dollars from offshore is determined by a formula contained in the legislation. 
  • Making eligible any offshore wind leases auctioned beginning January 1, 2022, which means the NY/NJ and Carolina lease sales will be eligible for revenue sharing under this agreement.
  • Enhancing transparency on how states fund projects.
  • Clarifying funding cannot be used on projects “primarily for entertainment purposes.”
  • Eliminating the administrative fee to increase the federal revenues available for inland producing states. 

The bill now heads to the full Senate for consideration.

Background

Current law requires all revenues generated from federal offshore wind leases and production beyond state waters be deposited in the U.S. Treasury. The bipartisan compromise reached on the RISEE Act sends 37.5% 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.

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, 12.5% 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 Magee
  • State Senator Bret Allain
  • Terrebonne Parish President Gordon “ Gordy” Dove
  • House Appropriations Chair Jerome “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
  • St Bernard Parish President Guy McInnis
  • Plaquemines Parish President Kirk Lepine
  • Tangipahoa Parish President Robby Miller
  • Greater New Orleans Expressway Commission
  • St. Tammany Parish Development District
  • LA-1 Coalition
  • Bayou Industrial Group
  • St. Tammany Parish Council 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 Government
  • 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
  • Greater Lafourche Port Commission
  • Parish Presidents of Louisiana Association
  • Parishes Advocating for Coastal Endurance
  • South Central Industrial Association
  • Coalition 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
  • St. Tammany Parish Council
  • Louisiana Mid-Continent Oil and Gas Association

The RISEE Act is also 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 Coalition, Trust for Public Land, The Nature Conservancy, City Parks Alliance, National Recreation and Park Association, and Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management, National Ocean Industries Association, Fugro, and Citizens Climate Lobby.

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