President Barack Obama is trying to sidestep our state’s efforts to restore our coast along the Gulf of Mexico when we have given so much to providing oil and gas to fueling our nation. Obama has proposed a budget that would stop Louisiana from getting a greater share of offshore oil and gas revenue beginning in 2017.
It is much needed money to restore our coast to its former status before the oil and gas production contributed to the problem. This money, which is part of the Gulf of Mexico Energy and Security Act money is constitutionally bound to go to coastal restoration projects as outlined in the state’s coastal protection and restoration master plan.
We are talking about a project that will cost $50 billion to really get started along Louisiana’s coast. We are about to go full speed ahead, but it is up to our state to provide much of the expenses.
Most of our money to finance the program is scheduled to come from 37.5 percent of revenue from offshore oil and gas production along our coast, which we are not getting now but are scheduled to start getting in 2017. If we do not get it in the future, our coast will suffer far more deterioration from erosion and our valuable coast will no longer be there.
Senators in Congress are now proposing to expand the number of states which would share that oil and gas revenue. The purpose is to let other states share in that oil and gas revenue which actually comes from federal offshore lands.
But the fact is that coastal energy producing states incur costs and impacts that other states do not share in that production, including environmental costs and those states need to be properly compensated to deal with those real costs and impacts. Louisiana needs a fair share of that money to mitigate the destructive oil and gas that has reduced our land.
Let’s face it, interior states like Kansas, Nebraska and Minnesota do not share the offshore mineral production costs that states along the Gulf Coast which is highly productive of minerals share. We need compensation for that and the federal government must realize it.