Paul Barcelona, ARTOVIA's President and 2023 Chairman of the Board for the Northshore Business Council (NBC), was part of a group of Northshore community leaders that recently attended a roundtable discussion with House Majority Leader Steve Scalise in Covington, LA.
One of the critical initiatives discussed was the proposed Budgeting for Renewable Electrical Energy Zone Earnings (BREEZE) Act which is a bill sponsored by Majority Leader Scalise and Congressman Troy Carter. The BREEZE Act would increase Louisiana's share of revenue from offshore energy production. This additional funding would be used to pay for coastal restoration and hurricane protection projects.
Background on the proposed BREEZE Act:
Increases states' share of revenue from oil and natural gas production in the Gulf of Mexico from 37.5 percent to 50 percent and eliminates the annual cap on funds received by Gulf states under GOMESA. Interior states get 50 percent of revenues from their energy leases, without being subject to an annual cap like Louisiana is.
The BREEZE Act corrects this disparity by increasing Gulf states’ share of oil and gas revenues to 50 percent – matching the interior states’ share – and removes the annual cap. This increase will ensure more funding goes towards our coastline so we can continue to make the major investments in coastal restoration and hurricane protection that our state needs and Louisiana families deserve.
Establishes a revenue sharing structure for coastal states for wind lease sales and production on the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS). All qualified OCS revenue shall be distributed as follows:
12.5 percent to the U.S. Treasury.
37.5 percent to the North American Wetlands Conservation Fund.
50 percent to each eligible state.
Authorizes the funds received under the bill to be used for:
Projects and activities for the purposes of coastal protection and resiliency, including conservation, coastal restoration, estuary management, beach nourishment, hurricane and flood protection, and infrastructure directly affected by coastal wetland losses.
Mitigation of damage to fish, wildlife, or natural resources, including through fisheries science and research.
Implementation of a federally approved marine, coastal, or comprehensive conservation management plan.
Mitigation of the impact of outer Continental Shelf activities through the funding of onshore infrastructure projects.
Planning assistance and the administrative costs of complying with this section.
"I'd like to thank Majority Leader Scalise for taking the time to meet with us. The additional funding that would result from the BREEZE Act would help to address critical coastal restoration and hurricane protection needs in our community. We'll monitor this bill closely and provide any assistance that may be needed as it goes through the legislative process," says Barcelona.