Taxpayers have lost out on billion of dollars of revenue from drilling on public lands thanks to antiquated oil and gas rules, according to a new report by Taxpayers for Common Sense.
For nearly a century, the federal government used the same below-market royalty rate, rental rate, and minimum bid for onshore oil and gas leases. While the Inflation Reduction Act recently raised the federal royalty rate from 12.5 percent to 16.67 percent, it still lags the 18.75 percent that producers are charged for oil and gas development in federal waters. Had a royalty rate consistent with what is charged in federal waters been implemented over the last ten years, the government would have collected $24.1 billion in royalties, and taxpayers would have received $8 billion more in revenue.
Federal and state taxpayers also lost revenue from outdated rental rates in New Mexico, the Western state that produces the most oil and gas. Between 2013 and 2022, the minimum rental rates for leasing federal lands for oil and gas development in the state of New Mexico were set at $1.50 per acre for the first five years of the lease and $2 per acre for the second half of the lease term—rates that had not been updated since 1987. If rental rates had been adjusted for inflation each fiscal year over the last decade, taxpayers would have received $13.1 million in additional revenue from rental fees in New Mexico. The Inflation Reduction Act raised rental rates to $3 per acre for the first two years, $5 per acre for years three to eight, and then no less than $15 per acre for years nine to ten.
The Bureau of Land Management will hold the first oil and gas lease sale since the Inflation Reduction Act passed today. It will include 3,300 acres in New Mexico’s portion of the Permian basin and 6,800 acres in Kansas. Over 200 environmental groups sent a letter opposing the lease sale to the BLM and some are planning to protest the sale outside the BLM New Mexico headquarters in Santa Fe today.
Can renewable energy and conservation coexist?
Grace Wu, an assistant professor in the Environmental Studies Program at UC Santa Barbara, joins Aaron and Kate on the latest episode of CWP’s podcast, The Landscape, to talk about her research on balancing renewable energy development and conservation in the West. The study examined the potential habitat loss and land use impacts of developing the complete set of onshore wind, offshore wind, large-scale solar, distributed solar, transmission, and bioenergy resources needed to reach economy-wide net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 for the 11 Western states.
Interior holds first oil and gas lease sale since IRA
Over 200 environmental groups protest federal oil and gas lease sale in New Mexico
Proposed protections for Grand Canyon spark fight over uranium mining
The Big Hole River and its continued state of peril; trout numbers again at historic lows
How wildfire smoke can harm human health, even when the fire is hundreds of miles away
Congress considers making Chiricahua National Monument Arizona’s fourth national park
Arizona author charts a course through 1930s science and sexism on the Colorado River
See the massive boulders blocking California’s main route to Yosemite National Park
Quote of the day
No one can accuse us of not attempting a legislative remedy… But given the makeup of the Natural Resources Committee and given the indications, this legislation will never see daylight.”
(featured image: Well pads in the Permian Basin in New Mexico, BLM/Flickr)