The U.S. House of Representatives on Tuesday adopted an amendment to block the Obama administration’s proposal to transfer money away from Alabama and other Gulf states to help fund the president’s “Coastal Climate Resilience” program that would help communities “prepare for and adapt to climate change.”
The amendment, introduced by Alabama 1st District U.S. Rep. Bradley Bryne, prohibits any efforts to redirect funds allocated under the Gulf of Mexico Security Act (GOMESA) of 2006. GOMESA allows four Gulf states — Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas — to receive 37.5 percent of federal oil revenue from drilling off their coasts, capped at $500 million a year, beginning in 2017.
In February, President Barack Obama proposed transferring GOMESA money away from the Gulf States to pay for the Coastal Climate Resilience program by redirecting the funds toward climate projects, including $400 million to help Native American tribes in Alaska deal with climate change.
Calling the GOMESA payments “unnecessary and costly” the Obama administration has complained they go to only a “handful of States under current law.” Meanwhile, GOMESA states argue they have long received a lower percentage of revenue than interior states for federal drilling within their borders, explaining the money will help offset damage to the environment and infrastructure caused by oil drilling.
Prior to the amendment’s passage, Byrne spoke on the House floor in support of it.
“These Gulf States not only provide a significant share of the infrastructure and workforce for the industry in the Gulf, but they also have inherent environmental and economic risks,” said Byrne. “Unfortunately, in his budget proposal this year, President Obama recommended that the money be taken away from the Gulf States and instead be spread around the country to implement his radical climate agenda.”
Byrne continued, “Not only does this proposal directly contradict the current federal statute, it vastly undermines the purpose of the law — to keep revenues from these lease sales in the states that supply the workforce and have the inherent risk of a potential environmental disaster.”
The amendment passed by unanimous voice vote.
Watch Byrne’s floor speech on the amendment below: