330 Groups Call on President Obama to Protect Critical Funding for Coastal Restoration

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact:

Elizabeth Van Cleve, Environmental Defense Fund, 202.553.2543, evancleve@edf.org
Emily Guidry Schatzel, National Wildlife Federation, 225.253.9781, schatzele@nwf.org
Jacques Hebert, National Audubon Society, 504.264.6849, jhebert@audubon.org
Jimmy Frederick, Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana, 225.317.2046, jimmy.frederick@crcl.org
John Lopez, Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation, 504.421.7348, jlopez@saveourlake.org

330 Groups Call on President Obama to Protect Critical Funding for Coastal Restoration

Gulf of Mexico Energy and Security Act (GOMESA) Provides Crucial Source of Restoration Dollars

(NEW ORLEANS – March 8, 2016) Today, the Restore the Mississippi River Delta Coalition sent a letter to President Obama signed by 330 groups, ranging from local governments and business and industry to environmental organizations and community groups, in response to his 2017 proposed budget that redirects funds from the Gulf of Mexico Energy and Security Act (GOMESA) away from Gulf Coast restoration. In the letter, the signers urge the President to reconsider, saying the move would weaken Louisiana’s ability to address its severe land loss crisis for the benefit of the region and the country.

“You have demonstrated a long-standing commitment to Louisiana’s ongoing recovery and its importance to the nation,” the groups stated in the letter. “We believe your proposal to redistribute GOMESA dollars is inconsistent with that very worthy commitment, and we were disappointed to see it again as a part of the budget discussion this year.” The letter continues, “The restoration of coastal Louisiana’s wetlands is one of the most pressing environmental challenges of our time. The Gulf of Mexico Energy Security Act (GOMESA) will soon provide the only consistent source of federal funds to continue its implementation.”

The U.S. Congress passed GOMESA in 2006 by an overwhelming majority, authorizing the sharing of 37.5 percent of revenues from oil and gas leasing activities with the five Gulf states. Other states receive 50 percent of revenues from similar activity that occurs on their lands, with no restrictions on how to use the money. At the time of passage of GOMESA, advocates argued that the Gulf states should receive similar treatment, as they support and bear the effects of these activities.

The letter concludes, “We respectfully request that you reconsider that approach as you work with us and our communities to build the kind of long term resilience we can achieve.”

Revenue sharing from GOMESA is set to begin in earnest in 2017. GOMESA funding is critical to implementing the state’s Coastal Master Plan – a science-based blueprint that ties ecosystem restoration with community protection and resiliency. In 2006, Louisiana voters constitutionally dedicated this funding stream to the state’s Coastal Trust Fund, which supports master plan implementation.

“This move is not only bad for Louisiana, it’s bad for the nation, as it threatens the Louisiana communities, industries and wildlife that help feed and fuel our entire country,” said Steve Cochran, Campaign Director for the Restore the Mississippi River Delta Coalition.

Read the letter in full along with all signers here: www.mississippiriverdelta.org/blog/2016/03/08/mrd-coalition-sends-president-obama-a-letter-on-gomesa-funding/

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The Restore the Mississippi River Delta Coalition is working to protect people, wildlife and jobs by reconnecting the river with its wetlands. As our region faces the crisis of threatening land loss, we offer science-based solutions through a comprehensive approach to restoration. Composed of conservation, policy, science and outreach experts from Environmental Defense Fund, National Audubon Society, National Wildlife Federation, Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana and Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation, we are located in New Orleans and Baton Rouge, Louisiana; Washington, D.C.; and around the United States. Learn more at MississippiRiverDelta.org and connect with us on Facebook and Twitter.