The Gulf of Mexico Energy Security Act (GOMESA) of 2006 created a revenue-sharing model for oil- and gas-producing gulf states. Under GOMESA, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana and Texas receive a share of revenue from oil and gas drilling in federal waters that help address coastal restoration, hurricane protection and watershed management programs in coastal Alabama.
CAP supports the continuation of federal payments to Alabama, Mobile and Baldwin counties from the 2006 Gulf of Mexico Energy Security Act (GOMESA) in 2020 federal budgets and the use of GOMESA funds for their intended purposes within Coastal Alabama.
Currently, 50 percent of GOMESA revenues go to the federal government and 37.5 percent is shared among Gulf states. CAP supports legislation amending GOMESA to increase the percentage of federal oil and gas revenues made available to Coastal Alabama and other Gulf States.
After a moratorium on new oil exploration was lifted in 2006, GOMESA was passed to prevent overharvesting and create the revenue-sharing program that has generated millions of dollars for coastal communities every year and is expected to keep growing.
Alabama collected $21 million through GOMESA in 2018 alone, while Baldwin County saw $2.4 million and Mobile County received $2.8 million. The original legislation dictates the lion’s share of the local funding — around 80 percent — goes directly to the state government.
Senators Bill Cassidy (LA) and Doug Jones (AL) are sponsoring Senate Bill 2418–Conservation of America’s Shoreline Terrain and Aquatic Life (COASTAL) Act to strengthen the current offshore energy revenue sharing program under the Gulf of Mexico Energy Security Act (GOMESA) and to create a new revenue sharing program for future offshore energy production in Alaska.
Under current law, Gulf states only receive a 37.5 percent share of revenues from energy produced in federal waters compared to states that receive 50 percent from onshore energy production on federal land. This change proposal would simply swap those numbers while continuing to set aside the remaining 12.5 percent for a Land and Water Conservation Fund.
This bill would also remove the $500 million revenue-sharing cap the original GOMESA legislation self-imposed through the year 2055.
The COASTAL Act would also increase the revenue available for the Land & Water Conservation Fund’s financial assistance to states. Under current law, the Land & Water Conservation Fund receives 12.5 percent of revenues generated in the Gulf of Mexico. However, cumulative dollars available to GOMESA states and the Fund are capped at $500 million. The COASTAL Act solves this issue by eliminating this cap.
The legislation also protects GOMESA payments from future sequestration cuts and makes oil and gas leases from 2000-2006 eligible for future GOMESA payments to Gulf coast states. According to the Department of Interior, in 2018 Gulf Coast states could have received an additional $247 million for environmental protection were more offshore leases GOMESA eligible.
CAP continues to support GOMESA and advocates for the COASTAL ACT to be approved.