Salazar announces OCS revenue shares under EPACT-authorized program

Six US coastal states will share nearly a half billion dollars from offshore oil and gas revenues in fiscal 2009 and 2010 to help restore and protect coastal wetlands, wildlife habitat and marine areas, US Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said on Apr. 20.

He said that Alabama, Alaska, California, Louisiana, Mississippi, Texas and their coastal local governments will have access to the money authorized under the 2005 Energy Policy Act which is allocated based on each state's qualified Outer Continental Shelf Revenue generated off its coast.

The distributions will take place under the Coastal Impact Assistance Program, which was created under EPACT and is administered by the US Department of the Interior's Minerals Management Service.

In each of the two fiscal years, Louisiana will receive about $121 million, Alaska $37.5 million, Texas $35.6 million, Mississippi $23.8 million, Alabama $19.7 million, and California $5 million. Portions of the money will go directly to 67 coastal political subdivisions, DOI said.

It said that Alaska's allocation rose more than 1,500% from the minimum in 2007 and 2008 because of about $2.6 billion of bonus payments in OCS Lease Sale No. 193 in the Chukchi Sea, held in February 2008, and variability of production in the Gulf of Mexico due to recent hurricanes.

DOI said that EPACT requires that funding under the program be used for coastal area conservation, preservation and restoration; mitigation of damage to fish, wildlife or natural resources; implementation of a federally-approved marine, coastal or comprehensive conservation management plan, or mitigation of impacts from OCS activities through funding of onshore infrastructure projects and public service needs.

It said that eligible recipients can also use the money to plan these mitigation and restoration measures and to cover administrative costs of complying with program legislation. Only states submitting a coastal impact assistance plan meeting MMS approval are eligible, and plans must be developed in consultation with eligible coastal political subdivisions, DOI said.

Contact Nick Snow at nicks@pennwell.com

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