In her Nov. 22 letter, Kim Delfino of the U.S. Public Interest Research Group misrepresented the Conservation and Reinvestment Act (CARA). Reps. Don Young (R-Alaska) and George Miller (D-Calif.) deserve credit for developing a consensus proposal. Delfino contended that CARA would provide "incentives" to states and localities to accept new oil and gas development off their coasts by offering monetary payments. She ignored legislative safeguards ensuring that expenditures comply with environmental laws and that payments to states and communities do not result in development incentives.
The governors of the coastal states support the current leasing moratoria and would not support legislation that provided incentives for increased oil and gas development. In part to address the governors' concerns, the bill excludes all potential revenue from future development in current moratoria areas.
In raising the boogeyman of "environmentally damaging activities," Ms. Delfino disregarded conservation purposes to which the funds could be dedicated. In states where there is Outer Continental Shelf activity, it's only fair that affected communities also would receive a share of the revenues to mitigate these impacts.
The real question is whether a portion of the revenues from Outer Continental Shelf development should be returned to the coastal states to reinvest in resource conservation and mitigation of community impacts. The coastal states think the answer is yes.
The writer is executive director of an organization that represents the coastal states.