This week, Congressman Ted Poe (TX-02) reintroduced the Offshore Lease Fairness Act that would mandate that 50 percent of offshore leasing revenue from new leases go to the coastal state adjacent to the oil lease. Currently, Gulf Coast states only receive between 27 percent 37.5 percent of lease revenue. At times, it may even be less.
The second highest single source of federal revenue each year comes from offshore drilling at $6 billion per year, said Poe. Those of us along the Gulf Coast have to bear the economic brunt of the oil spill and the devastating moratorium; it is time that we also receive our fair share of the revenues to help alleviate our local economies.
The Offshore Lease Fairness Act does not mandate that coastal states spend the money on shoreline mitigation projects or anything else, the money would go directly to the general fund of coastal states, and they could spend at their discretion. This money could be spent on transportation, education, shoreline mitigation, or any other purpose. The bill aims to empower states to address their individual needs by allowing them to benefit from their own national resources.
H.R. 939 The Offshore Lease Fairness Act:
(1) increase the revenue shared with States under the OCS Lands Act (dealing with the "8(g) zone", the zone that extends three miles from the coast line) to 50 percent for leases entered into after enactment of this Act; and
(2) expand the applicability of the Gulf of Mexico Energy Security Act of 2006 (GOMESA) to new leases for all lands on the Outer Continental Shelf (as opposed to only lands in the Gulf of Mexico), and increase the revenue shared with states under that Act to 50 percent for leases entered into after enactment of this Act, without the accompanying restrictions GOMESA puts on the way states may spend that 50 percent (e.g., on coastal maintenance, etc.).