Why It Matters: This bill will be a critical step forward to mitigating the impacts climate change, man-made infrastructure, and natural disasters have on our nation’s coastal communities. The Louisiana Department of Natural Resources estimates that 640,000 acres, approximately the size of Rhode Island, will be under water by the year 2050. Unfortunately, this issue is not just limited to Louisiana, but impacts all coastal communities. The BREEZE Act seeks to help address this issue by reinvesting in our nation’s natural resources.
On Wednesday, July 21, CSC Member Representative Steve Scalise and Representative Troy Carter introduced a bipartisan bill to establish parity for the disbursement of royalties collected from energy development in the Gulf of Mexico and create a revenue sharing system for coastal states where wind lease sales and production occurs.
Currently, states in the Gulf of Mexico that have energy production off their coasts only receive 37.5% of the oil and gas revenues collected by the federal government, however, interior states receive 50% of the royalties generated from their respective energy leases. Compounding this issue is that the revenue disbursed to the Gulf states is capped at $500 million annually, while there is no cap on the disbursements for the Interior states. The BREEZE Act would establish parity for the disbursement of energy related royalties between interior and coastal states by increasing the Gulf state side percentage to 50% and removing the cap on the amount of funds they can receive.
Additionally, the BREEZE Act would establish a revenue sharing program for coastal states for wind lease sales on the Outer Continental Shelf. All royalties and fees collected from these wind lease sales will be distributed, with 12.5% going to the U.S. Treasury, 37.5% to the North American Wetlands Conservation Fund (a high priority program for the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation) and 50% to each eligible state where production occurs.
The funding provided through the BREEZE Act will help provide states with much-needed financial resources to better conserve their respective coastal ecosystems and wetlands across the country. The Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation will continue to support the BREEZE Act and similar efforts to help conserve our nation’s coastal communities.
Studies conducted at both the state and federal level have found that the number of hunters and trappers have been on a generally declining trend over the past several decades. To increase recruitment, retention, and reactivation (R3) of hunters and trappers, which initiative do you think would have the greatest impact?