Tax cut would slow levee work
If the Trump administration ends sharing Gulf of Mexico oil and gas royalties with Gulf states including Louisiana as proposed, St. Charles Parish could lose $1.4 million a year beginning next year.
“There is some cause for concern with the recent proposal to repeal the GOMESA revenue sharing agreement,” said Parish President Larry Cochran.
GOMESA or the Gulf of Mexico Energy Security Act is on the chopping block in President Donald Trump’s proposed fiscal year 2018 budget. Under the agreement, Louisiana was to get $140 million a year for coastal restoration and hurricane protection projects.
St. Charles Parish’s share under GOMESA Phase II is estimated at $1.4 million a year beginning in 2018, according to Cochran.
“This is not the first attempt to strip GOMESA funding,” he said. “However, I have faith that our Louisiana and Gulf Coast delegations will fight to keep the existing profit sharing provisions in place.”
The money is dedicated to expediting construction of the parish’s Hurricane Protection system.
“If this funding is taken from us, it may lengthen the time it takes for us to provide complete protection for our residents. No matter what, our goal remains the same,” Cochran said. “We are committed to building a complete system as efficient and effective as possible.”
Under Trump’s proposed budget, billions of dollars of GOMESA payments would end to all four Gulf States of Louisiana, Alabama, Mississippi and Texas. Congress has to sign off on the move and it comes at a time when all four states are contending budget shortfalls in the lingering oil price downturn.
The program is part of the 2006 Gulf of Mexico Energy Security Act (GOMESA), which was aimed at promoting offshore drilling by giving states a share when Washington leases federal water for energy exploration.
From 2009 to 2016, Louisiana’s gotten a modest $11.6 million. But the figure was expected to increase, particularly to Louisiana and Texas, as more federal lands became available for leasing.
The battleground has been whether the revenues from federal waters should benefit all Americans or the people in states contending with the economic and environmental issues of producing the energy.
For Louisiana, the 2010 BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill affected more than 1,000 miles of coastline and damaged the fishing and tourism industries. The U.S. Department of Interior contends the states were due to receive benefits from the $20.8 billion BP oil spill settlement.