Ensuring a Fair Return on Public Resources

The outdated laws and regulations governing energy and natural resource extraction on U.S. public lands provide few protections for the fiscal interests of U.S. taxpayers.

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idea_bulbAlthough the interests of U.S. taxpayers have been long overlooked on national public lands, there are signs of change ahead. The United States and more than 40 other countries have formed a joint effort to improve the transparency of oil, gas, and mining activities through the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative, or EITI. In a speech announcing the nation’s participation, President Barack Obama said that the United States “will join the global initiative in which these industries, governments and civil society, all work together for greater transparency so that taxpayers receive every dollar they’re due from the extraction of natural resources.”

After years of discussing the need for reforms, the U.S. government is now taking steps to ensure American taxpayers are receiving a fairer return from the leasing and development of publicly owned resources. U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell has advanced a series of reforms that, if implemented, would collectively represent one of the largest steps forward on revenue collection policy in more than a generation. These reforms include proposals to close loopholes in the federal coal program, reduce the waste of taxpayer-owned natural gas, and modernize royalty, rental, bonding, and bidding policies for oil and gas development on federal lands.

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