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Sens. Cruz, Kennedy, Colleagues Introduce Conservation Funding Protection Act

December 3, 2020

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sens. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), John Kennedy (R-La.), Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.), Bill Cassidy (R-La.), John Cornyn (R-Texas), and Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) this week introduced the Conservation Funding Protection Act, legislation that would protect jobs and drilling opportunities in the Gulf of Mexico and the conservation efforts they fund.

Upon introduction, Sen. Cruz said:

“The preservation of energy production in the Gulf of Mexico is vital to the economic and national security of the United States. Not only does offshore drilling employ thousands of Americans and help fuel our economy and energy needs, but it contributes millions of dollars to environmental conservation projects on land and reduces our reliance on foreign powers. I am proud to support this legislation to ensure that that United States remains a global leader in energy production for years to come.”

Sen. Kennedy said:

“Louisianians and other energy producers help keep America running and keep America safe. If Americans aren’t allowed to use U.S. resources to fuel our economy, we’ll be dependent on nations that don’t share our values and that even oppose our interests. We can’t afford to lose the energy independence our country has earned, the Louisiana jobs that make it possible or the coastland conservation that it funds.”

Sen. Hyde-Smith said:

“The Conservation Funding Protection Act is important to help ensure Mississippians continue to have access to well-paying jobs, while also continuing to provide the state with oil and natural gas revenues for vital conservation projects in Mississippi and on a national level.”

Sen. Cassidy said:

“Many Louisiana families depend on energy production and the jobs it produces. This bill keeps the Gulf open for business and ensures these workers won’t be threatened by radical environmental agendas.”

Sen. Cornyn said:

“Ensuring continued access to energy resources in the Gulf of Mexico is critical to funding conservation efforts and important storm mitigation projects along the Texas coast. This bill would help keep us from a return to the days of relying on our adversaries to meet our energy needs.”

Sen. Wicker added:

“The Gulf of Mexico’s bountiful natural resources have been a cornerstone in the resurgence of American energy independence. Revenues generated from federal leases have also supported a multitude of critical conservation and restoration projects along the Mississippi Gulf Coast. The Conservation Funding Protection Act would guarantee our valuable resources are managed responsibly and that states can continue to invest in projects that will sustain their coastlines for generations to come.”

BACKGROUND

The Conservation Funding Protection Act would ensure that American oil producers would retain access to critical energy reservoirs on the Outer Continental Shelf. Offshore energy production funds conservation, coastal restoration, hurricane preparedness, wetland mitigation and public land maintenance. 

In order to ensure that the Gulf region can steward the shelf’s resources, the Conservation Funding Protection Act would require at least two area-wide lease sales per year on available acreage in the Western and Central Gulf of Mexico. The Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act currently directs the Secretary of Interior to establish a schedule for lease sales on the Outer Continental Shelf but does not mandate the number of lease sales the department is required to hold. 

This bill would maintain all current environmental laws and ensure that the Department of Interior conducts the environmental reviews required by law within clear time frames. The legislation does not alter environmental regulations for lease sales, rig operations or exploration.

The full text of Sen. Cruz’s bill may be viewed here

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