U.S. Congressman Garret Graves (South Louisiana) released the following statement after the U.S. Senate passed S. 3422, the Great American Outdoors Act, which now heads back to the U.S. House for a vote.
“The fact that the Senate is prioritizing an enviro-bailout right now – amidst record unemployment, a pandemic and national civil unrest – is fascinating. This activist-led, thinly veiled money laundering scheme is textbook doublespeak that will actually accelerate the destruction of four million acres of America’s Mississippi River Delta coastal wetlands. These bill advocates better be thinking up the excuses they will give to the families of hurricane victims in Texas, Mississippi, Alabama, Florida and Louisiana,” Graves said. “Let’s call the bill what it is – theft and awful policy. The bill takes money that we generate from offshore energy in Louisiana and gives it to California and other western states. The irony here is rich. First, many of these states that will be the largest beneficiaries of our money oppose the very energy production they will profit from — hypocrisy. Second, the bill is supposed to be addressing “conservation” yet it fails one of the nation’s most important conservation crisis — the loss of coastal Louisiana, our communities and ecosystem. Third, the bill funds additional property acquisition when the government has a backlog of over $10 billion in maintenance needs on existing properties. This bill is a failure and it should not have passed the Senate. We will be working with Cong. Richmond, Scalise, Abraham, Higgins, and Johnson to fix this injustice.”
The original bill, H.R. 1957 – the Taxpayer First Act of 2019, was passed by the U.S. House and the U.S. Senate attached S. 3422 to it. Under legislative procedure, a bill can become a legislative vehicle for another piece of legislation. Now, the U.S. House will vote on S. 3422 due to new amendments and Graves will have the opportunity to introduce new amendments to the legislation.
S. 3422 funds the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) entirely from private sector offshore oil and gas profits. Meaning, the Gulf States pay for land acquisition that does not enhance their own everyday life since the measure keeps in place the cap on funds Gulf Coast states can receive due to the Gulf of Mexico Security Act (GOMESA). Under GOMESA, the four states (Louisiana, Texas, Mississippi, and Alabama share 37.5 percent of the royalties generated while the federal government takes 50 percent and the LWCF grabs 12.5 percent. With Louisiana’s cap at $176 million per year, the state gets less than it gives.
To read more about S. 3422, click here.
To read more about H.R. 1957, click here.