Washington, D.C. — Congress is poised to make historic investments to tackle climate change, but lawmakers should also use the budget reconciliation process to raise money for climate action on public lands, according to a new column from the Center for American Progress.
The column describes the government’s broken fossil fuel and mineral leasing programs and outlines fiscally responsible and bipartisan reform ideas that—if included in the budget—would be a win for taxpayers, public lands, and the climate.
“The current program for oil and gas leasing on public lands is full of loopholes, subsidies, and a lack of competitive bidding,” said Jenny Rowland-Shea, deputy director for Public Lands at CAP. “Congress should implement reforms that would save taxpayer dollars and raise billions of dollars in revenue to support programs that help conserve our public lands.”
There are several measures Congress can take, including the following:
- Increase onshore and offshore royalty rates so that companies are paying their fair share and taxpayers don’t miss out on reasonable profits.
- Raise rental rates and minimum bids for onshore oil and gas leasing.
- End the noncompetitive leasing program, which allows companies to secure parcels unsold at auction without paying a bonus bid.
- Implement stronger bond amounts for reclamation and cleanup costs of orphan wells.
- Establish idle well fees for those wells that aren’t actively producing oil or gas.
- Establish royalties and fees on new and existing hard rock mines.
- Impose a per-barrel fee for on and offshore oil and gas development, as well as a per-metric ton production fee for coal on public lands.
- Require companies to use the best available technologies to capture methane as part of their operations.
- Eliminate royalty relief both on and offshore.
Read the column: “The Revenue-Raising Opportunity To Fund Climate and Conservation” by Jenny Rowland-Shea and Ryan Richards
For more information or to speak with an expert, please contact Sam Hananel at firstname.lastname@example.org.