The Interior Department announced last Monday the first distribution of more than $25 million in bonuses and rents on energy leases in Gulf of Mexico federal waters to coastal states and communities.
The payments to Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas and 42 eligible political subdivisions in those states are the first payments under the 2006 Gulf of Mexico Energy Security Act (GOMESA), which provides that those states and counties receive 37.5% of the oil and gas qualified leasing revenues from certain Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) areas.
Most of the $25.2 million to be disbursed was received from Lease Sales 224 and 206, held on March 19, 2008. Lease Sale 205, held on Oct. 3, 2007, contributed a small percentage of the revenues that were shared with this disbursement.
In total, those lease sales generated about $67.3 million in bonus bids and first-year rentals that qualify for revenue sharing. Under GOMESA, 12.5% of qualified revenues are disbursed to the Land and Water Conservation Fund, which provides funds and matching grants for various land and water projects. The remaining receipts are disbursed to the U.S. Treasury.
The 2006 legislation mandates that eligible U.S. jurisdictions on the Gulf Coast within 200 miles of certain OCS parcels leased in Sales 224, 206 and 205 receive these 37.5% share payments. The law directs that the funds be used for coastal protection, including mitigating damage to fish, wildlife or natural resources; carrying out a federally approved marine, coastal or comprehensive conservation management plan; mitigating the impact of OCS activities through the funding of onshore infrastructure projects; and planning assistance and administrative costs in complying with the law.
"These funds will provide an important boost to communities at a moment when they need it most," Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said.
The revenues include $6,179,076.25 to Alabama; $6,347,321.13 to Louisiana; $5,506,235.80 to Mississippi; and $2,159,399.65 to Texas. Forty-two eligible political subdivisions will receive $5,048,008.21. Those include $1,544,769.06 to eligible Alabama counties; $1,586,830.28 to Louisiana parishes; $1,376,558.95 to political subdivisions in Mississippi; and $539,849.92 to counties in Texas. A complete list of the disbursements and eligible political subdivisions receiving funds will be on-line at www.mrm.mms.gov.
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