Four U.S. states win $353 million for coastal environmental restoration and hurricane resilience projects: A 64.2% increase

On March 30, 2020, the U.S. Department of the Interior announced that it had disbursed almost $353 million in FY 2019 energy revenues to the four Gulf oil and gas producing states—Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas—and their coastal political subdivisions (CPS).

This represents an increase of 64.2 percent ($138 million) over the prior year.

The funds will be used to support coastal conservation and restoration projects; hurricane resilience programs; and activities to implement marine, coastal or conservation management plans.

…increasing energy revenues have generated more money for Gulf states to implement critical conservation, sustainability and infrastructure projects,” said Department of the Interior Secretary David Bernhardt.

Examples of state projects previously funded with GOMESA dollars include:


  • $4 million set aside for Gulf State Park recreational access enhancements, and $1.5 million for a coastal Alabama watershed enhancement project.


  • $5 million to replace or remove seven beach outfall pipes in Harrison County, and $2 million to put down approximately 60 million oysters on shell or crushed concrete into the Mississippi Sound.


  • $4.5 million in funds committed by the Texas General Land office to construct 6.7 miles of living shoreline at Anahuac Natural Wildlife Refuge. The project is being completed by Ducks Unlimited and will protect the coastal marsh from further erosion.
  • $1.1 million in GOMESA funds were committed to complete the Texas Coastal Resiliency Master Plan. The plan provides a framework for community, socio-economic, ecologic and infrastructure protection from coastal hazards, including short-term direct impact and long-term gradual impacts.


  • $50 million for a permanent gate structure that will prevent flooding to portions of six parishes on Bayou Chene. Once complete, the project will feature a 40-foot barge gate to provide protection against storm surge up to 10 feet, along with a series of flood-walls and levees to support additional protection; and
  • In Ascension Parish, GOMESA will fund $65 million for a project that includes a pump station to be constructed on the Mississippi River at Donaldsonville with a minimum pumping capacity of 1,000 cubic feet per second alongside the existing 500 cfs station, tripling the capacity for fresh water entering Bayou Lafourche to combat saltwater intrusion and provide fresh drinking water to over 300,000 residents in Assumption, Ascension, Lafourche and Terrebonne Parishes.

From this new 2020 funding, Louisiana will administer $124,574,775.95, and the remaining $31.14 million will be administered by 19 parishes. Six parishes in Louisiana’s 3rd Congressional District will receive funds:

  • Calcasieu Parish, $1,638,988.85;
  • Cameron Parish, $2,092,861.04;
  • Iberia Parish, $1,636,190.83;
  • St. Martin Parish, $1,160,080.96;
  • St. Mary Parish, $1,364,113.38; and
  • Vermilion Parish, $1,618,586.88.

Louisiana Congressman Clay Higgins said, “This is a major investment, which greatly increases support for coastal projects in Louisiana. GOMESA provides critical funding for mitigation and restoration efforts along Louisiana’s coast. We support this endeavor and will continue working with President Trump’s administration to expand and preserve these important revenue-sharing provisions.

In FY 2019, revenues surpassed $1 billion from GOMESA leases, which triggered the annual cap. The GOMESA legislation specifies the annual cap to be applied to the amounts disbursed to the Gulf producing states and their CPS each year.

ONRR will disburse to the states and their CPS each fiscal year following the year of receipt: up to $375 million for FY 2017 through FY 2019 receipts; up to $487.5 million for FY 2020 and FY 2021 receipts; and up to $375 million for FY 2022 through FY 2055 receipts. The cap is lifted beginning in FY 2056. The cap does not apply to qualified revenues generated in those areas associated with Phase I of the GOMESA program.

Photo of Louisiana coast courtesy of the Office of Congressman Clay Higgins.

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