Resources on the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) in U.S. waters belong to all U.S. citizens. OCS activities generate substantial revenues from lease sales, royalties on production, and rental fees. These funds are distributed to the U.S. Treasury and several different programs through various revenue sharing laws. The largest portion goes to the General Fund of the U.S. Treasury which benefits all U.S. citizens through funding of daily operations of the Federal Government. A still significant portion goes to states and special programs outlined below.
Two revenue sharing programs exist to share OCS revenues with nearby states. These include:
- Gulf of Mexico Energy Security Act (GOMESA)
- Section 8(g)
In addition, revenues collected from the OCS are distributed into two different funds to protect America’s historical places and recreation opportunities:
- Historic Preservation Fund
- Land and Water Conservation Fund
Note: The Great American Outdoors Act, signed in 2020, provides permanent funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund using revenues from offshore oil development to invest in recreation and conservation throughout the nation.