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Roger F. Wicker

01/27/2021 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 01/27/2021 17:20

Wicker, Hyde-Smith Renew Support for Conservation Funding Protection Act

WASHINGTON - U.S. Senators Roger Wicker, R-Miss., and Cindy Hyde-Smith, R-Miss., today renewed their support of the Conservation Funding Protection Act, legislation that would protect jobs, energy exploration, and conservation initiatives along the Gulf Coast.

The Mississippi lawmakers joined Senator John Kennedy, R-La., to reintroduce legislation to ensure American energy producers retain access to critical energy reservoirs on the Outer Continental Shelf. The renewed bill is offered as the Biden administration acts to stop future oil and gas production on federal lands and waters.

'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 ensure our valuable resources are managed responsibly and enable states to continue investing in projects that will sustain their coastlines for generations to come,' said Wicker.

'The early actions by the new administration to stop oil and gas production make the Conservation Funding Protection Act all the more significant. Off-shore leases, both current and future, are the source of well-paying jobs and royalty revenues that allow states like Mississippi to fund conservation projects and other vital services,' said Hyde-Smith, who serves on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee. 'With this bill, we're stressing that it is just not sound policy to simply stop producing American energy resources.'

Energy development on the Outer Continental Shelf generates funding for critical conservation, coastal restoration, hurricane preparedness, wetland mitigation, and public lands maintenance efforts.

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. Under the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act, the Secretary of the Interior is 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 the Interior conducts the environmental reviews required by law within clear timeframes. The legislation does not alter environmental regulations for lease sales, rig operations or exploration.