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Legislature approves bill to keep GOMESA money in coastal counties

The bill now heads to Gov. Ivey’s desk to be signed.

Gov. Kay Ivey took a tour of the damage from Hurricane Sally on the gulf coast Friday September 18, 2020. (Governor's Office/Hal Yeager)

Protecting oil and gas lease tax funds due to the Coastal Alabama counties has been a high priority for Sen. Chris Elliott, R-Baldwin, since his election to the Alabama Senate, and this week, the Legislature passed his Senate Bill 9, which does just that.

“That money is created and raised here in Baldwin and Mobile counties through those oil and gas leases, and it should be easy to understand that those funds should stay in our counties,” Elliott said. “It’s about making sure we get our fair share here in Coastal Alabama and using that money to improve our communities and way of life.”

Elliott’s bill takes the GOMESA, or Gulf of Mexico Energy Security Act, funding and says it can only be expended within the coastal political subdivisions in the state, which would be Baldwin and Mobile counties.

“This bill ensures this money stays where it belongs here instead of possibly being spent on other projects elsewhere in the state,” Elliott said. “Much like the TVA money is for North Alabama, this should be a source of funding raised in our coastal communities for our coastal communities.”

The bill unanimously passed the Alabama Senate on Feb. 8 and 102 to 0 the Alabama House on Feb. 24. Elliott praised the House for taking action on his bill this year and thanked Rep. Chip Brown, R-Dauphin Island, for his help in shepherding the bill in the House.

“In years past, this bill has somehow always managed to get caught up in the whirlwind of chaos that can sometimes accompany the later parts of our legislative session in Montgomery,” Elliott said. “I am thankful for the actions taken by the House this year, especially my friend Rep. Chip Brown from Mobile County, as he and his colleagues in the House recognize and agree that this money needs to be held and protected for the people of Coastal Alabama.”

GUMBO Chairman Patrick Bussey said his organization also was pleased to see Elliott’s bill pass.

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“GUMBO applauds Sen. Elliott on his efforts to ensure that GOMESA funds remain in Baldwin and Mobile Counties where offshore drilling occurs,” Bussey said. “This is an important issue to our stakeholders, and we appreciate Sen. Elliott’s continued work in this regard.”

The bill now heads to Gov. Ivey’s desk to be signed.

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The Alabama Political Reporter is a daily political news site devoted to Alabama politics. We provide accurate, reliable coverage of policy, elections and government.

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