Graves Statement on the Threat to Louisiana’s Coastal Resiliency with the House Passage of the Great American Outdoors Act
WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Congressman Garret Graves (South Louisiana) spoke out today against H.R. 1957 – the Great American Outdoors Act before voting no on its’ final passage in the U.S. House of Representatives.
A full video of Graves’ remarks can also be found here.
Graves also spoke about the offshore revenues, oil and gas production specifically, serving as the main source of funds for the land acquisition. The video can be found here.
The original bill, H.R. 1957 – the Taxpayer First Act of 2019, was passed by the U.S. House and the U.S. Senate attached S. 3422 to it. Under legislative procedure, a bill can become a legislative vehicle for another piece of legislation.
S. 3422 will fund the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) entirely from private sector offshore oil and gas profits. Meaning, the Gulf States pay for land acquisition that does not enhance their own everyday life since the measure keeps in place the cap on funds Gulf Coast states can receive due to the Gulf of Mexico Security Act (GOMESA). Under GOMESA, the four states (Louisiana, Texas, Mississippi, and Alabama) share 37.5 percent of the royalties generated while the federal government takes 50 percent and the LWCF grabs 12.5 percent.
Because the four Gulf Coast states split the already divided funds, Louisiana gets less than it gives. Graves said previously this bill will cheat Louisiana of its fair share of oil and gas royalties to subsidize vacation destinations and Graves’ amendments to lift the cap on funds Gulf Coast states could receive were denied.
Background on Graves Involvement:
- In February 2019, Graves spoke on the U.S. House floor in opposition to S. 47 – the Natural Resources Management Act, which authorized the LWCF to add more land than we can manage and did not address the $17 billion in backlogged maintenance. Graves warned his colleagues that this decision would be reckless to our debt, a flawed policy decision, and ignorant of the protection and conservation needs of the coastal areas that provide that funding. Graves has been a staunch defender of GOMESA against multiple attempts to dismantle the program by the Obama and Trump Administrations.
- Since 2017, Graves has submitted nearly 50 amendments to the bill but committee Democrats voted on party line to exclude the efforts, and examples can be found here, here and here.
- In July 2017, Graves previously introduced legislation to boost the share of offshore energy revenues for Gulf Coast states, providing a substantial increase in funding for Louisiana’s coastal restoration and flood protection projects. The bipartisan bill would amend GOMESA to bring Gulf offshore energy revenue sharing closer to parity with onshore energy producing states – an effort long pursued by Louisiana’s congressional delegation. The legislation was originally introduced last Congress by Graves and was advanced out the U.S. House Committee on Natural Resources in September 2018 after the two markup sessions (click here and here for more info including mention of Graves’ amendments).
- On April 26, 2018, Graves chaired a U.S. House Committee on Natural Resources hearing titled “Examining the Critical Importance of Offshore Energy Revenue Sharing for Gulf Producing States” where Mary Landrieu, former Louisiana U.S. Senator, and Reggie Dupre, Terrebonne Level and Conservation District Executive Director, were witnesses.
- That same day, Graves accepted Louisiana’s $66 million “check” for initial GOMESA Phase II Disbursement from then-U.S. Department of Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke.
- In May 2017, Graves also discussed GOMESA with Vice President Pence aboard Air Force Two.