Four states which sit on the shores of the Gulf of Mexico stand to miss out on billions of dollars in promised oil royalties if a proposal by the Trump administration makes it through Congress. On Tuesday the White house proposed ending a program that shares the revenue from offshore oil and gas drilling with the states which bear the risk of spills.

 President Donald J. Trump (from the White House)

The program is part of the 2006 Gulf of Mexico Energy Security Act. It was designed to provide an incentive for states to approve of offshore drilling when Washington leases federal water to energy companies. Between in all the years between 2009 and 2016 the act paid out a total of just $36.5 million to Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas combined. However, these payments were intended to increase dramatically beginning this year with the plan intending to payout $272 million 2018 alone. The program caps out with payments of $375 million a year in 2022 with Texas and Louisiana alone receiving $250 million per year after the increase in royalty payments.

The Department of Interior said the administration proposes ending the program “to ensure the sale of public resources from Federal waters owned by all Americans benefit all Americans.” Critics argue the difficulty with this is that not all Americans assume an equal share of the risks from offshore drilling. Coastal states assume the majority of the risk in the event of environmental disasters which can impact the economy for years.

For example Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas all suffered greatly in the aftermath of the Deepwater Horizon Disaster, the largest oil spill in world history. While BP was fined $18.7 billion for this spill the ecosystem in the Gulf of Mexico has still not recovered and the fishing and tourism industry both suffer as a result. The move does not appear to have political motivations as all four of the states affected by this bill voted for Trump in 2016.