Last week the Louisiana Legislature unanimously passed the State's Coastal Master Plan in the wake of the new President's budget that called for the elimination of Gulf of Mexico Energy Security Act (GOMESA) funds for offshore oil and gas producing states, citing that offshore revenues should be returned to all taxpayers, rather than benefitting "only a small handful of states and not all U.S. taxpayers despite federal waters belonging to all Americans."
Before GOMESA ever passed in Congress, the State of Louisiana through an overwhelming vote of its citizens constitutionally dedicated the funds for restoring coastal wetlands. Those wetlands historically have protected critical energy infrastructure that provides 95% of all off-shore production for the rest of the country. In addition, the Mississippi Delta protects critical economic and environmental assets upon which the entire nation depends.
"The GOMESA funds are critical to implementing the state's coastal master plan, engineered to halt coastal erosion and to protect against storm events that could destroy one hundred billon dollars of pipeline, and the 1st and 3rd ranked inland navigation systems in the U.S.," said R. King Milling chair America's WETLAND Foundation. Beginning in 2007 the state implemented the coastal master plan that is supported by the best of science and engineering to halt coastal erosion and thereby protect these valuable assets against storms.
Mary B. Neumayr, chief of staff of President Donald Trump's Council on Environmental Quality, affirms the fact that Louisiana's wetlands protect vital resources. In a recent letter to Louisiana's Governor Edwards she wrote. "We appreciate the significance of Louisiana's coastal area for energy production, fisheries, recreation, and other resources and we also recognize that ongoing land loss in Louisiana negatively impacts these valuable resources."
"So are we to believe that the Administration understands the importance of Louisiana's coastal restoration on the one hand but would take away the funds that make that restoration possible with the other?" asked Milling.
States like Louisiana that host onshore the offshore energy production and distribution which supplies so much of the oil and gas consumed throughout the United States also incur the impacts of those activities. As the BP oil spill demonstrated, as our working coast provides benefits to the entire nation, we bear the risk to our environment and communities associated with supporting America's energy security.
"Eliminating GOMESA is unacceptable and we urge President Trump to not only recognize the value of our coast but also agree that funding its restoration is in the national interest. We call upon any Members of our Congressional delegation who may have his ear to explain the facts about offshore revenue sharing and why GOMESA must not be taken away," stated Milling.
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Today, Governor John Bel Edwards welcomed Vice President Mike Pence to Louisiana as he Veep is attending a event with top Louisianqa Republican officials. Along with the welcome, however, is a wishlist of requests including an item of recent vinctage involving the current Trump budget which tears a hole into the funding for the Louisiana coastal restoration.