8(g) History

In the mid-1900s, major oil and gas deposits discovered in the outer continental shelf lands were the source of controversy between the federal government and the eastern coastal states. Louisiana first began drilling offshore in 1947, and the federal government immediately challenged the state's claim to the area. It was generally acknowledged that the first three miles of the continental shelf, a shallow, flat portion of the continent that is underwater, belongs to the state, while the rest of the shelf is federally owned. It was the first three miles of the federal portion that was involved in the controversy.

Detail of 8(g) coastal area

As a result of this conflict, the 1953 Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act was passed to regulate offshore leasing and to determine state/federal participation. After major oil and gas discoveries were made off the coast of New Jersey in 1978, the east coast states, in an effort to protect their resort and fishing industries, led a successful fight to reform the 1953 act. As a result, states gained more control over offshore activities through an amendment to the original act.

The amendment, numbered 8(g), is what gives coastal states a "fair and equitable" share of the money made from offshore development. A final settlement was reached in 1986, which gives Louisiana 27 percent of the money made from the 8(g) area of the continental shelf. With the state's portion of the 8(g) resources, Louisiana voters chose to establish a trust fund for education, the Louisiana Education Quality Trust Fund, through a state constitutional amendment which allows the interest of the trust fund, also known as the Louisiana Quality Education Support Fund, to be spent for education purposes.

Since its inception in 1986, the BESE 8(g) Grant Program has allocated over $1.39 billion to various schools and educational institutions. The fund has grown from $8.2 million in its first year of operation to as high as $40 million annually, funding over 9,680 projects.