Energy Subcommittee receives testimony on bipartisan bill to amend GOMESA, create offshore wind revenue sharing

On Tuesday, Mississippi U.S. Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith asked the Biden Administration to support a piece of bipartisan legislation, the Reinvesting in Shoreline Economies & Ecosystems (RISEE) Act (S.2130).

“Because the RISEE Act has support across the political spectrum, I hope the Biden administration will more fully embrace this legislation,” Hyde-Smith said following the hearing.

Revenues from offshore energy production are the main source of sustainable dollars for Gulf Coast states to implement highly important projects like coastal conservation, restoration, and hurricane protection, Hyde-Smith said.

“States with inland oil and gas production are rightly entitled to 50 percent of the associated federal revenues – revenues derived from resources which belong to the entire nation, not any one state,” Senator Hyde-Smith said.

The RISEE Act establishes several dedicated streams of funding for coastal resiliency. If enacted, the RISEE Act would establish an offshore wind revenue sharing model, dedicate funding to the National Oceans and Coastal Security Fund (the Fund), and reform the Gulf of Mexico Energy Security Act (GOMESA).

The bill amends GOMESA by:

  • Eliminating the state revenue sharing cap, currently at $375 million.
  • Increasing the amount of GOMESA revenues shared with states from 37.5% to 50%.
  • Lifting the Land & Water Conservation Fund’s state side funding cap of $125 million.
  • Adding the National Oceans and Coastal Security Fund as a fourth GOMESA equity (12.5%).
  • Making oil and gas leases from 2000-2006 eligible for future GOMESA payments to Gulf coast states and the National Oceans and Coastal Security Fund. Currently, only leases from 2007 to present are eligible for GOMESA payments. EIA reports 11 new oil and gas fields in the Gulf of Mexico will contribute to the overall growth in U.S. production are GOMESA eligible under current law. Another eight would also qualify under this proposed change.
  • Protecting GOMESA revenues from sequestration.

The state funds can be used for coastal restoration, hurricane protection, or infrastructure; mitigating damage to fish, wildlife, or other natural resources, including through fisheries, science, and research; and to implement a marine, coastal or conservation management plan.

U.S. Senators Bill Cassidy (R-LA) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) introduced the Reinvesting in Shoreline Economies & Ecosystems (RISEE) Act in June of 2021. Both Mississippi Senators Hyde-Smith and Roger Wicker are original cosponsors of the RISEE Act.

“Mississippi is rich in natural resources, and our state is a proud contributor to the nation’s energy independence,” Wicker said in June.  “This legislation would ensure Gulf Coast States receive a fair share of energy revenues generated off our shores, so that we can continue to make investments necessary to protect and preserve our coasts for future generations.”

“Louisiana has learned to use money from offshore energy production to rebuild our coastline and protect our communities. This bill takes the lessons that Louisiana has learned and adds more funding. This helps Louisiana and will also help other coastal states as they copy what Louisiana is now doing,” said Senator Bill Cassidy.