Lott praises Congress action on drilling, GO Zone extension

Published 11:48 pm Saturday, December 9, 2006

Sen. Trent Lott on Saturday praised congressional action on legislation allowing offshore drilling in the Gulf of Mexico and extension of Gulf Opportunity Zone Act.

Passage came as Congress wrapped up work in the pre-dawn hours Saturday on a bevy legislation.

The offshore drilling bill opens up some 8.3 million acres along the Gulf of Mexico to oil and gas drilling.

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The legislation steers hundreds of millions of dollars in royalty payments to Mississippi and other Gulf states to restore coastal wetlands and repair hurricane damage.

The drilling provision was attached to a package of popular tax breaks.

The Gulf Opportunity Zone Act, designed to help boost recovery efforts, continues tax breaks to developers of low-income housing projects, small businesses and individuals affected not just by Katrina but by hurricanes Rita and Wilma as well. The law also provides debt restructuring for financially troubled local governments in the area.

“The GO Zone legislation will jump-start economic recovery in Mississippi and other Gulf states recovering from Hurricane Katrina.” Lott, R-Miss., said in a statement.

“The Senate enacted the GO Zone tax credits last December, and because of this program, Mississippi businesses have been able to rebuild more quickly, and new jobs have been added by making Mississippi more attractive to top-notch industries.”

Lott was one of the authors of the Go Zone bill.