"Louisiana politicians at the state and federal level are echoing a false oil and gas industry claim to support more offshore drilling in the Gulf of Mexico, saying that Louisiana will lose more land to the sea without offshore production royalties to pay for coastal restoration.
However, the bulk of the state’s plan to build back storm-buffering wetlands and barrier islands—which have eroded in part due to oil and gas industry development—is funded by oil spill settlements. The plan was originally budgeted assuming the state would receive $176 million annually from royalties on offshore production by now, which is not the case. The state has gotten smaller payments due to less development in the Gulf than expected.
Louisiana’s congressional delegation haven’t petitioned for oil and gas companies to pay more—instead, they’ve asked for a larger share of the money collected by the federal government to go toward the Bayou State. That effort has not gained traction in Congress.
Combined, the list of flood protection and coastal restoration projects in the state’s Coastal Master Plan are expected to cost $91.7 billion when adjusted for future inflation, according to a report by the Tulane Institute on Water Resources Law and Policy. But the state has only secured about $21 billion. Most of that money—about $14.5 billion—went toward the system of floodwalls, floodgates, levees, barriers, and sector gates that serve to protect the greater New Orleans area from storm surge flooding."
Sara Sneath reports for WWNO in partnership with Southerly November 5, 2021.