Posted on December 21, 2022
A push to land nearly $2 billion for coastal restoration in Louisiana through higher royalty payments has failed for the year, U.S. Sen. Bill Cassidy said Tuesday.
“This is extremely frustrating because it was not just about Louisiana but about every coastal community in the country,” Cassidy told reporters.
Cassidy and Sen. John Kennedy, R-Madisonville, have pushed to have a proposal added to a $1.7 trillion omnibus spending bill that Congress has to pass this week to keep government operating.
The bill, called the Reinvesting in Shoreline Economies and Ecosystem System Act of 2022, or RISEE, would lift the cap on royalty payments to Louisiana and other states for energy production in federal waters.
The state received $156 million in 2020, which was split between state and parish governments.
Cassidy said the bill he hoped to have added to the spending measure would allocate $1.9 billion to Louisiana over 10 years.
The Baton Rouge Republican said backers were peppered with questions on how the the new formula would be financed.
“They kept saying ‘We need to find a way to pay for it,'” Cassidy said.
He said Kennedy did just that but “that didn’t work.”
He said supporters offered a two-year rollout, and a way to pay for it, instead of putting it in place for a decade.
“That didn’t work,” Cassidy said.
“They kept moving the goalposts. For some reason, I am not sure why, they didn’t want this to pass. That is why I keep going back to ‘This is chaos by design.'”
Kennedy echoed Cassidy’s sentiments.
“We had a good plan that would ensure that Louisianians would see more of the fruits of their labor,” he said in a statement. “It wouldn’t have cost the taxpayers another dime, but the Senate blocked it anyway.”
Cassidy noted that the RISEE bill emerged from a Senate committee without a dissenting vote.
“We work on it next Congress,” he said.
Louisiana and other Gulf Coast states were previously shut out of royalty payments because the oil and gas was being produced in U.S. territorial waters that began about nine nautical miles offshore.
In 2006, the Gulf of Mexico Energy Security Act, called GOMESA, was enacted and set up a revenue-sharing program to offset damages caused by drilling that generates money for the federal government.