Rep. Garret Graves

WASHINGTON, DC – Congressman Garret Graves advanced legislation out of the House Committee on Natural Resources Thursday that would increase the share of offshore energy revenues for Gulf Coast states. 

Graves’ bill would provide a substantial increase in funding for Louisiana’s coastal restoration and flood protection projects. 

“After working on this for 20 years I can tell you:  what happened today is historic,” said Graves, R-South Louisiana. “Moving this bill is a big deal and has enormous implications for South Louisiana.”  

Graves’ H.R. 6771 amends the Gulf of Mexico Energy Security Act 2006 (GOMESA) to bring Gulf offshore energy revenue sharing in line with levels that onshore energy producing states enjoy – an effort long pursued by Louisiana’s congressional delegation. The bill was considered today in conjunction with the Restore Our Parks and Public Lands Act, which proposed using Gulf offshore energy revenues to address the maintenance backlog of the National Park Service and other agencies across the country.

“Louisiana is battling the largest historical, ongoing and prospective loss of coastal wetlands we’ve ever seen, and it’s a national crisis. Diverting Louisiana’s energy revenues away from efforts to improve the resiliency of the people, communities and ecosystems responsible for generating the resources in the first place is a fundamentally flawed approach to addressing the maintenance backlog in national parks,” said Graves. “Our bill ensures that these increased revenues will be committed to projects that restore the coast, protect our coastal communities from hurricanes and other disaster and, ultimately, reduce our nation’s outrageous disaster response costs.”

For nearly a century federal law has discriminated against coastal energy producing states. While states producing energy onshore federal lands get to retain 50 percent of the energy revenues, coastal states have received a small fraction. H.R. 6771 solves this problem. 

Energy production in the Gulf of Mexico accounts for 18 percent of total U.S. crude oil production and 4% of total U.S. dry production of natural gas. In 2016 alone, this production generated $2.7 billion in royalty revenue for the U.S. Treasury. Of that amount, only 0.407% ($11 million) was given back to those states through revenue sharing programs.

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