On this episode of The Capitol Beach, host Derek Brockbank dives in to “GOMESA,” speaking with former Louisiana Senator Mary Landrieu, Director of Mississippi Department of Marine Resources, Joe Spraggins, and Mobile, Alabama County Commissioner, Connie Hudson. The Gulf of Mexico Energy Security Act of 2006 directed federal funding generated from offshore oil production in the Gulf of Mexico to be returned to Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama for coastal conservation. A bill currently in Congress – the COASTAL Act – would increase the percent of revenue going back to the Gulf States and would lift the cap that limits how much funding Gulf States can get. All the guests are strong supporters of GOMESA, and have been advocating for the COASTAL Act, but we also discuss some of the concerns with tying funding for coastal resilience to fossil fuel extraction. Listen to the podcast and decide what you think!
Senator Mary Landrieu served in the United States Senate for three terms, first elected in 1996. As a member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee – and then, ultimately, as Chair of that Committee – she passed several important pieces of legislation; most notably the landmark Gulf of Mexico Energy Security Act (GOMESA); the Israel American Energy Alliance; and the RESTORE Act – the single largest federal investment in the Gulf Coast in US history. Prior to serving in the U.S. Senate, she served in the Louisiana State Legislature from 1979 – 1987.
Benjamin J. Spraggins, Brigadier General (Retired) USAF, was appointed executive director of the Mississippi Department of Marine Resources in December 2017. As executive director, he leads the agency’s 11 offices and programs: Coastal Resources Management, Coastal Restoration and Resiliency, Finance, Grand Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve, Human Resources, Information Technology, Lyman Fish Hatchery, Marine Fisheries, Public Affairs, Marine Patrol and Tidelands. Gen. Spraggins served as Chief Operations Officer for MDMR from October 2013 to December 2017
Commissioner Connie Hudson has been an active member of the Mobile community for more than 25 years with extensive volunteer and public service experience. She served nine years as the District 6 representative on the Mobile City Council before her election in 2010 as the District 2 representative on the Mobile County Commission.
ASBPA Executive Director, Derek Brockbank, hosts this semi-regular podcast. Prior to starting with ASBPA, Derek worked as campaign director for a coalition effort to restore the Mississippi River Delta and Coastal Louisiana, and was part of a gulf-wide campaign to pass the RESTORE Act, securing billions of dollars for Gulf Coast restoration. This followed up on his work with National Wildlife Federation on climate adaption. Derek started his career as a grassroots organizer. Derek grew up in New York City and got his coastal education from an early age playing on the beaches of Long Island, and kayaking and fishing in Peconic Bay.