WASHINGTON — The U.S. House of Representatives on Tuesday blocked the Obama administration’s plan to take money from Alabama and other Gulf states to help fund the president’s climate agenda in Alaska and other areas of the country.
In 2006, Congress passed the Gulf of Mexico Energy Security Act (GOMESA), which created a revenue-sharing agreement for off-shore oil revenue between the federal government and Alabama, Texas, Louisiana and Mississippi. Under GOMESA, 37.5% of the revenues generated from selected oil and gas lease sales in the Outer Continental Shelf of the Gulf of Mexico is returned to the Gulf States.
In his budget proposal last year, President Obama proposed that the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management redirect the distribution away from the Gulf Coast and instead spend that money elsewhere.
In response to this proposal, Congressman Bradley Byrne (R-AL1), who represents Alabama’s coastal community in the U.S. House, sponsored a budget amendment to prohibit any effort to redirect the funds away from the Gulf Coast. It passed, successfully blocking the President’s proposal.
But the administration renewed the proposal in 2016, only to see Byrne block it again.
Last night, the House adopted Byrne’s amendment to the Department of the Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act to prevent them from transferring this money away from the Gulf states. It passed on a voice vote, despite opposition from Democrats.
Byrne discussed the issue on the House floor, delivering the following remarks:
I am pleased to introduce this amendment along with two of my colleagues, Representatives Charles Boustany and Garret Graves of Louisiana.
My straightforward amendment would prohibit any effort to redirect funds allocated under the Gulf of Mexico Energy Security Act, also referred to as “GOMESA.
There is a reason the law was structured this way.
These Gulf States not only provide a significant share of the infrastructure and workforce for the industry in the Gulf, but they also have inherent environmental and economic risks.
Unfortunately, in his budget proposal this year, President Obama recommended that the money be taken away from the Gulf States and instead be spread around the country to implement his radical climate agenda.
Not only does this proposal directly contradict the current federal statute, it vastly undermines the purpose of the law – to keep revenues from these lease sales in the states that supply the workforce and have the inherent risk of a potential environmental disaster.
This is not the first time the President has made this proposal, and so far Congress has stood strong in opposition… We should not allow the President to turn our revenue sharing agreements into a slush fund for politically-driven climate projects.
(Video below: Byrne discusses efforts to block President Obama from diverting off-shore drilling revenue away from Gulf states)