A Fair Share

Oil and gas from our American lands provide an important source of public revenue. But outdated policies are shortchanging taxpayers.

Outdated Royalty Rates Cost Taxpayers up to $730 Million Per Year

Oil companies lease land from the federal government and pay royalties on the oil and gas that is produced. But the federal government has a low royalty rate - much lower than rates charged by Western oil producing states like Wyoming, Colorado and New Mexico. This gap shortchanges American taxpayers up to $730 Million per year. State taxpayers in Western states, which get an even split of federal royalty revenues, also lose out.

Oil Companies Can Obtain an Acre of Public Land for Less than the Price of a Big Mac

The minimum bid required to obtain public lands at oil and gas auctions stands at $2.00 per acre, an amount that has not been increased in decades. In 2014, oil companies obtained nearly 100,000 acres in Western states for only $2.00 per acre.

Companies Can Sit on Public Lands for Less Than a Cup of Coffee

Oil companies are sitting on nearly 22 million acres of American lands without producing oil and gas from them. It costs only $1.50 per year to keep public lands idle, which provides little incentive to generate oil and gas or avoid land speculation. Adjusting the rental rate up to just $3.00 for the first five years of a lease and $5.00 thereafter would have generated an additional $56 million for taxpayers over the course of one year.

Taxpayers losing tens of millions on natural gas that is going "up in smoke"

The oil and gas industry costs American taxpayers upwards of $50 million in federal royalties every year because of methane that is flared or vented at well sites or from leaky pipes and equipment. Between 2008 and 2013, methane waste from drilling operations on America’s public lands increased by more than 51 percent. Westerners overwhelmingly support an end to this wasteful practice.

Taxpayers Must Pay Oil and Gas Inspection and Enforcement Fees on Public Lands

Oil companies drilling offshore pay for the costs of inspecting wells. But on onshore public lands, American taxpayers are responsible for covering the costs of inspecting oil and gas wells and ensuring that the law is enforced. In recent years, budget cuts have made it impossible to inspect all high-risk wells, leaving communities and public lands more vulnerable to accidents.