WASHINGTON – In a Senate floor speech Thursday night, U.S. Senator Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-LA) continued his efforts to include language in the Great American Outdoors Act (GAOA) that would increase the amount of funds available for coastal states to improve coastal resiliency.
Cassidy wants to include his COASTAL Amendment in the base bill. The amendment removes the cap on revenue sharing funds Gulf coast states receive from energy production, and it makes more leases eligible for revenue sharing through the Gulf of Mexico Energy Security Act (GOMESA). This would increase the amount of money available for states like Louisiana to invest in coastal resiliency and flood protection.
The majority of the money in the GAOA is dedicated to inland states for deferred maintenance in national parks. GAOA increases funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund, which also disproportionately benefits inland states, which will receive $17.66 per capita compared to just $7.53 per capita for coastal states. This is despite the fact that 82 percent of Americans live in coastal states (42 percent live in a parish or county directly on the coast) and despite the Gulf providing 90 percent of the funding for the GAOA.
“If you live in a coastal area that generates the billions being spent in the GAOA, you’re upset to learn that the Senate is passing a bill spending more money on vacation spots than on protecting your homes, jobs and environment,” Dr. Cassidy said. “I’m asking the Senate to put people before parks.”
Thursday’s speech was the latest Cassidy effort to remove the cap on offshore revenue funding. He also spoke to the chamber Tuesday and Wednesday. Cassidy wrote the amendment he is trying to insert. His amendment mirrors a bill he wrote last year, the COASTAL Act, which was introduced with bipartisan cosponsors and passed the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee with bipartisan support.
Watch Cassidy’s speech here.
Download Cassidy’s comments here.