In a financially-strapped state where money from anywhere is still considered money, news that the federal government is handing over a couple million bucks is certainly good news.
And so it was, as U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke today (Monday, June 11) announced that $2,068,159 in revenues available through the Gulf of Mexico Energy Security Act (GOMESA) will be distributed to Illinois for Land and Water Conservation Fund grants that support outdoor recreation and conservation projects.
This years distribution of GOMESA revenues is a significant increase from past years with this level of funding expected to continue into the future. Moving forward, the Department of the Interior will distribute these funds ahead of the traditional annual LWCF appropriations.
“This is a great state-federal partnership that benefits all citizens,” Zinke said. “Making this change in distribution gets these funds to states so they can start creating public outdoor recreation opportunities earlier.”
How Illinois will use the funds, made up of non-taxpayer dollars from Outer Continental Shelf lease revenues, is unclear. There will be limitations because the funds come through federal matching grants that leverage public and private investment.