ASBPA has long supported policies that ensure revenue from coastal and offshore energy development is used for coastal restoration and resilience in the states and regions that support that development. We are therefore advocating that current legislation, titled the Great American Outdoors Act (GAOA, or S.3422), includes an increase in funding going to coastal states for restoration and resilience projects.
A group of Members in both Houses of Congress, backed by a large coalition of national, state and local groups, are strongly advocating for Congress to commit a significant portion of federal Outer Continental Shelf (OCS, ie, offshore federal waters) oil and gas revenues for outdoor recreation and deferred maintenance in national parks. Senator McConnell has said that GAOA will be put on the Senate floor in June for a standalone vote.
ASBPA believes that if Congress creates new mandatory funding to allocate OCS oil and gas revenues for outdoor recreation and national parks, that legislation must also allocate funding to the coastal states that serve as hosts for this important economic activity. The Great American Outdoors Act would allocate an average of $1.85 billion a year of mostly OCS revenues for 10 years to outdoor recreation and national parks maintenance around the nation – while funding for Coastal restoration and resilience along the Gulf Coast (known as GOMESA funds, after the 2007 legislation that authorized it) are capped at only $375 million a year. We ask that this arbitrary GOMESA cap be eliminated to provide a fair share for our coastal host states.
More than twice as many people visit America’s coasts as visit state and national parks combined; consequently 85% of all tourism-related revenue in the U.S. is generated in coastal states — where beaches are the leading tourist attraction. Beach tourism supports 2.5 million jobs, $285 billion in direct spending, and generates $45 billion in taxes annually.
GOMESA provides funding directly to state, parish, and county governments to offset the onshore impacts of federal offshore oil and gas development. GOMESA funds can be used for coastal conservation and restoration, ecosystem and fisheries restoration, hurricane protection, and environmental improvements and now will also serve as a stimulus for coastal communities as they continue to recover amidst the pandemic. GOMESA revenues are the only permanent source of funding for Gulf Producing states to preserve, protect, and enhance our shorelines.
We do not oppose the investment of funding for our national parks, but if new allocations of federal OCS revenues for outdoor recreation and national parks are included in forthcoming bills or economic stimulus legislation, coastal communities cannot be left out.
GOMESA funding template Letter (MS Word 15kb)