BATON ROUGE, LA - The America's WETLAND Foundation (AWF) today called the elimination of Gulf of Mexico Energy Security Act (GOMESA) funds in the President's budget crippling to coastal restoration efforts in Louisiana.
President Trump's budget cancels the agreement that gives coastal energy producing states a share
of revenues received by the Federal government through royalties from Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) oil and gas leases. In Louisiana, these funds are constitutionally dedicated to restore disappearing wetlands that protect the nationally critical energy infrastructure and economic and environmental assets the country depends upon and are a crucial piece of the funding puzzle to carry out the state's coastal master plan.
"The fight for a share of OCS revenues was long and, finally, real dollars through GOMESA would begin coming to the state next year. Louisiana's coast is disappearing at an alarming rate and if this budget stands, it will put one of America's most essential estuarine areas at even greater risk," AWF Senior Advisor Sidney Coffee said. "Losing this important source of funding would be devastating to Louisiana's efforts to salvage the very coastline that benefits the entire country."
Val Marmillion, AWF managing director, said, "GOMESA shares revenues with states that serve the nation and the public interest by hosting offshore energy production and finances restoration due to impacts on communities and natural environments. It is simply wrong to cut these revenues and
upend state plans to work cooperatively to restore America's Wetland that provides environmental services to the country's largest port system, its fisheries, and network of pipelines that transport oil and gas to every part of the U.S. How can this Administration talk about shoring up our nation's infrastructure and then demolish funds to do just that in critical asset areas?"
For more than 15 years, AWF has called on national leaders to seriously consider the argument for a strong economy tied to energy development from a healthy Louisiana coast. A sound case can be made that what is essential to the regional economy is also critical for saving a vast ecosystem that is being lost. Without a significant and immediate drive for restoration, environmental services and species will be lost to an ill-informed budgetary process.