Center for American Progress

RELEASE: CAP Report Shows How Rural Communities Can End Financial Dependence on Fossil Fuels
Press Release

RELEASE: CAP Report Shows How Rural Communities Can End Financial Dependence on Fossil Fuels

Washington, D.C. — A new report from the Center for American Progress shows how rural communities can end their historical dependence on royalty revenue from fossil fuels, giving them a new source of income as they transition to cleaner energy.

For decades, rural areas have relied on royalties and taxes from fossil fuel companies to maintain schools, roads, and other critical infrastructure. This sets up political opposition to a transition to renewable energy that thwarts climate action.

The report offers a solution that can address this revenue dependence. Specifically, it calls on Congress to replace annual revenue-sharing payments from coal, oil, and natural gas production with stable and permanent distributions from a new Energy and Resource Legacy Fund. These payments would be established with a one-time upfront loan repaid over time with federal oil and gas revenue payments.

“This plan would create an immediate, predictable, and permanent source of income for resource-dependent communities as they transition to clean energy,” said Mark Haggerty, a senior fellow on the Energy and Environment department at CAP and co-author of the report. “And it would cost U.S. taxpayers nothing.”

To achieve these goals, the report recommends that the fund:

  • Must be managed transparently and independently
  • Is financed through a Treasury loan that will be paid back over time
  • Must guarantee payments to transitioning communities

A second key feature of this proposal is founding an independent Rural Investment Council that safeguards the Energy and Resource Legacy Fund for community benefit and maximizes the fund’s impact. The primary role of the council would be to manage the fund independently from Congress. This structure would ensure a diversified investment strategy and protect the fund from being raided for other purposes.

Read the report: “Quitting Fossil Fuels and Reviving Rural America” by Mark Haggerty and Nicole Gentile

For more information or to speak with an expert, please contact Sam Hananel at [email protected].

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