Wednesday, December 1, 2021

Play

As the U.S. Supreme Court takes up a high-stakes abortion case, it coincides with divisive arguments over voter fraud, mask mandates and more, and at least three are dead in a Michigan school shooting.

Play

Republican lawmakers say government won't shut down; Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell says inflation will last well into next year; and an FDA panel greenlights first pill to treat COVID-19.

Play

South Dakota foster kids find homes with Native families; a conservative group wants oil and gas reform; rural Pennsylvania residents object to planes flying above tree tops; and poetry debuts to celebrate the land.

Report: Taxpayers Lost $4B Due to Low Royalty, Lease Rates

Play

Thursday, October 1, 2020   

CHEYENNE, Wyo. -- The Bureau of Land Management is failing to ensure taxpayers receive a fair market value for oil and gas deposits on federal lands, according to a new report.

Autumn Hanna, vice president of Taxpayers for Common Sense, said due to outdated and poor land-management policies, over the past decade U.S. taxpayers lost at least $4 billion, with $2 billion in lost state revenues in Wyoming alone.

"These are federally owned assets," Hanna explained. "And we should be getting the most for them. We should be having competitive bidding, we should have royalty rates that keep pace, we should have inflation-adjusted rental rates and minimum bidding. We shouldn't be just giving away the things we own."

Hanna said royalty rates for oil and gas extraction have not been updated since 1920, and annual rental rates and minimum bid prices for leases have not changed in more than 30 years.

Some leases are granted with zero minimum bid.

Industry groups argue developers won't explore new fields with higher costs, and dealing with government bureaucracy creates additional costs compared with leases on privately-owned lands.

Hanna said it's in the best interest of producers to push for the lowest rates possible, but it's up to the Interior Department to get a fair return based on market value.

"It's the federal government's job to protect taxpayers, and to ensure that we're getting fair return for all the resources we own," Hanna contended. "It's not in the interest of the taxpayer for them to be representing industry during the leasing process. We need to be strategic about the resources we own, and leasing them competitively."

In 2019, 40% of all leases sold at auction had bids of $10 an acre or less. Hanna said during the pandemic, royalty rates have been adjusted down to near zero. Seventy percent of all leases granted COVID-19 royalty relief were in Wyoming.

"Four hundred leases in the state of Wyoming, all that applied, were reduced to a half of a percent," Hanna added. "It's basically giving away the oil and gas that federal taxpayers own. This is not going to help when the state and local budgets are in dire need of more revenue."


get more stories like this via email

According to an annual survey, 20% of Americans could not name any branches of government. (Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

FARGO, N.D. -- The U.S. Supreme Court today takes up arguments in a high-stakes abortion case. It coincides with divisive arguments over voter fraud…


Environment

MADISON, Wis. - The Department of Natural Resources wants Wisconsinites to weigh in on its efforts to address chronic wasting disease. The always-…

Social Issues

RALEIGH, N.C. -- North Carolina communities will soon receive funding to preserve green spaces, maintain parks and boost resiliency against the …


Shoppers in Wyoming's historic downtowns can have cookies at Santa's Saloon and kids can deliver letters to Santa via Pony Express. (Visit Cheyenne)

Social Issues

LARAMIE, Wyo. -- Wyoming shoppers choosing to buy gifts at local mom-and-pop stores this holiday season can sample cookies with Mrs. Claus and refuel …

Health and Wellness

CLEVELAND, Ohio -- Today marks World AIDS Day, observed internationally to remember those lost to the HIV/AIDS epidemic and raise awareness about the …

Modern-day agriculture is now closely linked with technology, says a dean from Chemeketa Community College. (sodawhiskey/Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

SALEM, Ore. -- A new project with a grant from the federal government aims to invite Hispanic students in Oregon into agriculture and technology …

Social Issues

GREAT FALLS, Mont. - Student-loan borrowers have had a reprieve from making payments during the pandemic, but that's set to end in 2022. Starting in …

Environment

HEMET, Calif. -- Public-lands groups are asking Congress to support the proposed Western Riverside County Wildlife Refuge, a 500,000-acre swath …

 

Phone: 303.448.9105 Toll Free: 888.891.9416 Fax: 208.247.1830 Your trusted member- and audience-supported news source since 1996 Copyright 2021