Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Louisiana coastal protection could get a funding boost from offshore wind

by BIZ Magazine

(The Center Square) – Proposals for redirection of royalties from offshore renewable energy projects to coastal protection efforts are headed to the Louisiana Senate floor for final passage.

The proposals of Rep. Joseph Orgeron, R-Cut Off, were approved by the Senate and Governmental Affairs Committee unanimously. If signed into law by Gov. Jeff Landry, the constitutional amendment would appear on the Nov. 5 ballot.

House Bill 300 would place a constitutional amendment on the ballot to redirect federal revenues from “generated from Outer Continental Shelf alternative or renewable energy production sources, including wind energy, solar energy, tidal energy, wave energy, geothermal energy, and other alternative or renewable energy production or sources.”

The companion bill, House Bill 305, that would codify the shift of federal royalties to the coastal protection fund from the Gulf of Mexico Energy Security Act program if the measure is passed by voters.

Orgeron says the majority of coastal restoration funds originate from the Deepwater Horizon settlement that ends in 2031 and new funds are needed. He also said that right now any offshore revenues would be split between the state’s General Fund (75%) and the remainder with the state’s mineral fund.

Orgeron brought a similar bill last year that passed the House unanimously but died in the Senate.

Federal law would have to be changed to allow those alternate energy revenues to be sent to Louisiana for coastal restoration. U.S. Sen. Bill Cassidy filed a bill last year called the Reinvesting in Shoreline Economies & Ecosystems Act that would send alternative energy production royalties to coastal states.

U.S. Rep. Steve Scalise has a bill called the Budgeting for Renewable Electrical Energy Zone Earnings that he has filed twice in the last two years.

The Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority’s fiscal 2025 budget is $1.7 billion, with 136 total projects, 83 in progress. Funding is provided by federal Gulf of Mexico Energy Security Act and state sources.

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