Department of Interior recommends increasing drilling fees for public lands

A report from the Department of the Interior recommends increasing fees for those who drill on public land as a service to taxpayers.

The report suggests that the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) implement a higher royalty rate to match those fossil fuel developers are charged to drill on private land or in the states that produce the most oil and gas. Currently, developers are required to pay 12.5% of their profits to the federal government for drilling on public land. Additionally, the report advised requiring developers to set aside an increased bond for post-drilling cleanup.

Officials from the Interior also said they were conferring on how to add the climate change toll into the prices of permits required for new fossil fuel drilling.

“The direct and indirect impacts associated with oil and gas development on our nation’s land, water, wildlife, and the health and security of communities — particularly communities of color, who bear a disproportionate burden of pollution — merit a fundamental rebalancing of the federal oil and gas program,” the report read.

Many felt that President Joe Biden hasn’t followed through on a promise he campaigned on. While campaigning, the president said he would work towards ending all new oil and gas leasing on public land. However, the newly-released report is expected to inform the administration’s upcoming decisions regarding oil and gas drilling.

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