Center for Western Priorities Facebook
Center for Western Priorities Twitter
Center for Western Priorities Videos


Taxpayers Lose Big if Congress Lifts Oil Export Ban and Ignores Antiquated Royalty Rates

Oil companies are ramping up an aggressive advocacy campaign to convince Congress to lift the four-decade-old law banning the export of American crude oil. But in its haste to hand the oil industry a major policy victory, Congress risks missing an opportunity to reform the antiquated laws governing oil and gas drilling and development. At the top of that list is the century-old royalty rate that oil companies are required to pay to American taxpayers for the right to extract oil and gas from U.S. public lands.

In this analysis, we calculate how much money taxpayers stand to lose if Congress allows oil companies to send American-produced oil overseas without also ensuring that those companies pay a fair return to taxpayers for oil produced from U.S. public lands.

Using data from the Office of Natural Resources Revenue and a report commissioned by the American Petroleum Institute, we estimate that American taxpayers could lose more than $500 million over the next decade if Congress lifts the crude oil export ban and ignores outdated royalty rates.

Screen Shot 2015-09-09 at 1.19.38 PM

While lifting the export ban may allow drillers to increase oil production, American taxpayers will be left with the costs of increased development, including more lands lost to drill rigs and well pads, spills, truck and train traffic, and local air pollution.

Our lawmakers have an obligation to ensure that all Americans—not just oil companies and their bottom lines—benefit from increased oil drilling. If Congress is going to consider reforming oil policies, it would be negligent to lift the export ban without simultaneously ensuring taxpayers are receiving a fair return from the oil produced here at home.

Download button

Latest News

@WstrnPriorities on Twitter

1 day ago
Meet Todd Wynn, the new @Interior official who wants to give away America’s public lands. WstrnPriorities photo
1 day ago
Senators may use budget vote to advance efforts to open up Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil drilling.
WstrnPriorities photo
1 day ago
@nytopinion Efforts to open Arctic to drilling are "budget scam that puts the wildest place left in America at risk" WstrnPriorities photo


States step up to lead on conservation and public lands policy in the Trump era

At a time when Westerners are feeling less than confident about the federal government’s commitment to respecting and protecting our...

October 17th, 2017

Oh, the places Secretary Ryan Zinke will go (for political fundraisers and speeches)

Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke has been all over the news in recent weeks — and it hasn’t been the kind...

October 17th, 2017

Anti-park congressman introduces “No New Parks” bill

Congressman Bishop’s attack on the Antiquities Act is not a serious piece of legislation. It’s a manifesto put forward by...

October 10th, 2017