Louisiana sues DOI over redrawn Gulf of Mexico boundaries

Louisiana Atty. Gen. James D. “Buddy” Caldwell (R) sued the US Department of the Interior over the federal government’s redrawing of Gulf of Mexico boundaries that determine states’ mineral royalty shares.

Louisiana would be required to share some of the royalties it has received in the last 25 years with Texas and Mississippi, he said on Dec. 21.

US Sen. David Vitter (R-La.) expressed his support for the lawsuit. “ should not be the victim of unilateral agency action,” he declared.

Revenue generated in this part of the gulf is designed to compensate states for resources on or below state waters that are produced by federal lessees, he explained.

Under DOE’s proposed change, Louisiana would lose money dedicated to education and coastal regulation, Vitter said.

The lawsuit, filed in US District Court for the District of Columbia on Dec. 19, alleged that DOI and two of its agencies, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management and the Office of Natural Resources Revenue, violated the federal Administrative Procedures Act’s public notice and comment requirements before changing respective Gulf Coast state’s respective zones established under the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act.

DOI and the agencies lack the authority to retroactively apply the new interpretation and methodology, and demand that Louisiana repay $2.81 million for alleged excess revenue disbursements since 1986, the suit continued.

It asks the court to enjoin the defendants from demanding the money and implementing final agency actions, including the new allocation distribution and overlapping zones.

DOI had no immediate comment on the lawsuit, a representative told OGJ by e-mail.

Contact at nicks@pennwell.com

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