WASHINGTON — U.S. Rep. Jeff Landry, R-New Iberia, successfully added an amendment Thursday to a House energy bill that would eventually direct more offshore drilling revenue to Louisiana.
Landry’s amendment, approved on a 244-173 House vote, would raise the revenue cap for the Gulf Coast on oil-and-gas drilling in the Gulf of Mexico’s Outer Continental Shelf from $500 million to $750 million starting in 2023.
The amendment was added into the Strategic Energy Production Act of 2012 that the House passed on a 248-163 vote. The overall bill is criticized by many Democrats as anti-environmental and is not expected to survive the Democratic-controlled Senate this year.
“There is no reason that offshore producing states should not receive the same vital benefits as onshore producing states,” said Landry, who also has tacked the amendment to another piece of legislation with the co-sponsorship of Rep. Cedric Richmond, D-New Orleans.
“I will continue adding this provision to every applicable bill until the Senate adopts it and joins my fight for more coastal restoration and hurricane protection,” Landry added.
In total, the amendment would mean more than $2 billion extra over several years for Louisiana for coastal restoration and hurricane protection projects.
The entire Louisiana House delegation voted for the amendment, but Richmond — the only Democrat in the House delegation — voted against the overall bill.
While the vote was Thursday, the debate on the amendment actually occurred after 9 p.m. Wednesday.
Rep. Ed Markey, D-Mass., said an issue that involved billions of dollars warranted more debate than at a time when the only people paying attention “need to get a life.”
“This isn’t the way to do it,” Markey said. “This is just another permanent entitlement.”
Referencing the 2006 legislation by Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., that originally set up the offshore drilling revenues to Gulf states, Markey said adding these additional revenues to the “2006 giveaway” would mean “another bite of the king cake” and make “every day Mardi Gras in Louisiana.”
Landrieu on Thursday praised the passage of the amendment.
“I commend Congressman Landry for passing this important amendment to advance the goal of bringing more offshore oil and gas revenues to coastal states — particularly Louisiana — that host energy production,” Landrieu said in a prepared statement. “We need leaders who will work to lift the cap on oil and gas revenues for the benefit of our coastal communities.”