Hurricane Katrina reminded us how important levee protection is to our area and underscored the critical role of our coastal wetlands.
Louisiana is blessed with an abundance of natural resources, including nearly half of the coastal wetlands of the lower 48 states. But this resource is disappearing at a rapid rate. Louisiana has lost nearly 2,000 square miles of land since the 1930's. The wetlands are Louisiana's first line of defense against powerful Gulf storms, and our nation must make a firm commitment to protecting this valuable resource. Louisiana alone produces a quarter of the America's domestic oil and gas supply.
States like New Mexico receive up to 50 percent of the oil revenues within the state, but Louisiana only receives a small portion of revenues from offshore activity. Our state plays too large a role in our nation's energy security, and we deserve to be able to participate in the same revenue sharing that other states enjoy. We are not asking for handouts, just a fair share of what is deservedly ours.
Currently, revenues generated from the energy produced off Louisiana's coast are padding federal coffers. Returning a greater share of OCS revenues to Louisiana and other states that contribute to our nation's energy security is critical to restoring and protecting our wetlands and the billions of dollars in energy investments they protect.