Senators say Miss. would benefit from oil and gas revenue plan

Published 7:27 pm Friday, July 14, 2006

An agreement that gives coastal states a more significant portion of federal revenues from oil and gas production in the Gulf of Mexico would directly benefit Mississippi, say Sens. Thad Cochran and Trent Lott, both R-Miss.

“This agreement reflects weeks of work that Sen. Lott and I have put toward the effort of ensuring Mississippi receives a substantial share of revenues that come from oil and gas production in the Gulf Coast,” said Cochran. “When this legislation is approved, Mississippi will be entitled to a fair share of the revenue our state deserves.”

The two said the agreement worked out by Senate leaders would allow new production in roughly eight million acres of the Gulf of Mexico, including an area located more than 100 miles off the Mississippi Coast.

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A 37.5 percent share of federal revenues generated by this lease sale and subsequent production would go to the four Gulf Coast energy-producing states: Mississippi, Louisiana, Texas and Alabama, they said.

“States that permit offshore energy exploration enable this activity, taking any risks associated with it and providing much of the work force and support mechanisms,” Lott said. “It stands to reason that our states should rightly receive a portion of this revenue.”

Lott said that with “more than $150 million in payments expected to be added to our state’s revenue over the next ten years, and more than another $250 million expected annually after that, this is a major step forward for Mississippi’s purse at a historical rebuilding time when it will be most needed.”

The Energy Policy Act of 2005 provides Mississippi with $31.25 million in each year from 2007-2010 for environmental restoration projects, hurricane evacuation routes, and other purposes.

The agreement would provide the state with more than an additional $150 million over the next 10 years above the funding provided by the Energy Policy Act. Beginning in 2017, Mississippi would receive more than $250 million annually, based on projections of federal revenues from future leases, Lott said.