Jindal Thankful for Short-term Coastal Money; Promises to Keep Fighting for Long-term Funds
Energy Conference succumbs to pressure from Senate Democrats to remove a provision from the final bill that would have guaranteed billions of dollars for Louisiana yearly
Washington, Jul 26 - Congressman Bobby Jindal (LA-01) today applauded the decision by Representatives and Senators on the Conference Committee working out the details of the final version of the national energy bill to include limited short-term funding for coastal restoration. He also pledged to keep working with Representatives and Senators on both sides of the aisle until Louisiana finally has all the money it needs to defend its coast.
"I am proud that the delegation worked together to get money for Louisiana included in the energy bill," Jindal said. "This represents a major step forward and, finally, a recognition by the rest of the nation that Louisiana's coastal erosion is a national problem. There is, however, more that needs to be done and I will continue to impress upon my colleagues the need for a long-term stream of mandatory funding for Louisiana, so we can finally solve this problem that has been hanging over our head for decades."
The final version of the energy bill, which is expected to come the floor of both the House and the Senate as early as tomorrow, will include a provision that will provide Louisiana with about $500 million over the next 4 years. That money will be directed to coastal restoration efforts. Congressman Jindal worked to include a provision in the House passed version of the bill that would have included short term funding similar to that in final version, but also required that Louisiana receive a portion of the revenue generated by drilling offshore. That additional revenue would have amounted to more than $1 billion a year beginning in 2016. A small number of Democrats in the Senate objected to Louisiana receiving that long-term funding, even though many of their own states receiving an even higher percentage from drilling within their boarders. The Jindal provision was eventually stripped from the bill.
"It is a shame that a handful of Democrats in the Senate would be so selfish and shortsighted as to oppose providing Louisiana with enough money over the long haul to affect real coastal restoration," Jindal added. "These same members have no problem with their own states receiving 50 percent of the revenue generated by on-shore drilling within their boarders, yet they feel justified in stonewalling efforts by Louisiana to keep a fraction of that amount from our own drilling. We have only asked for what is fair and we will continue to ask for it until everyone recognizes the equity in it. I am grateful to House leadership, especially Chairman Pombo and Majority Whip Blunt, for their unwavering support for my provision, which provided Louisiana a permanent source of revenue to restore our coast. Today is a partial victory for Louisiana; one we can be proud of for sure, but it is by no means the end of our fight for coastal restoration."
It is predicted that Louisiana needs more than $14 billion to enact a comprehensive coastal restoration strategy.