WASHINGTON, D.C. — The National Wildlife Federation released the following statement in response to the Bureau of Land Management's decision to drastically slash royalty fees for oil and gas companies:
“At a time when state governments are reeling from the economic and health impacts of the global pandemic, the federal government should not give sweetheart deals to oil and gas corporations that further hobble state coffers,” said Tracy Stone-Manning, associate vice president of public lands at the National Wildlife Federation. “Bailing out oil and gas interests cannot not come at the expense of our struggling communities.”
At least 76 oil and gas bailout requests have been processed by the BLM so far. In most cases, royalties were cut from the standard 16.67 percent to as low as 2.5 percent. State governments depend on oil and gas royalties to fund education, infrastructure, healthcare and emergency response efforts, so cutting the fees will have a devastating impact on state services. While it was cutting fees for the fossil fuel industry, the administration dramatically increased fees it charges solar and wind companies for the use of public lands. The Interior Department plans to collect $50 million in back rent fees this year for wind and solar projects — up from one million dollars last year. That steep increase comes at a time when many of the renewable energy companies are facing stalled projects because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“It is clear this administration is only interested in giving handouts to its friends in the fossil fuel industry while continuing to punish companies in the renewable energy sector. It is simply not fair and is one more signal that oil and gas drilling takes precedence over everything else on our public lands,” said Stone-Manning.
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