For immediate release: Feb. 26, 2020
Contact: Camilla Feibelman, Sierra Club Rio Grande Chapter director, firstname.lastname@example.org, 505-715-8388
Udall introduces bipartisan bill to update bargain-basement oil and gas rates for public land
On Wednesday, the 100th anniversary of the Mineral Leasing Act, Sen. Tom Udall introduced legislation to update oil and gas royalty rates that have not been increased since the 1920 law passed — as well as minimum bids for our public land that haven’t changed since 1987.
The current rental rate: $1.50 per acre for the first five years of a lease and $2 per acre for the remainder of the lease. The current national minimum bid? $2 per acre. Minimum royalty rate? 12.5 percent.
The Fair Return for Public Lands Act would:
- Increase the rental rate to $3 per acre for the first five years of a lease and $5 per acre for the remainder
- Increase the national minimum bid to $10 per acre, with discretion to increase this amount on a sale-by-sale or lease-by-lease basis
- Increase the minimum royalty rate to 18.75 percent
“New Mexicans hold our public lands close to our hearts, but the government has been practically giving them away to Big Oil and Gas for a century, without regard for the health, climate and pollution costs to all of us. It’s long past time to change that, and Senator Udall’s bill is a great way to begin,”
– Camilla Feibelman, Sierra Club Rio Grande Chapter director.
“The Trump administration’s reckless fire sale of our public lands puts our communities and climate at risk at American taxpayers’ expense. We applaud Senator Udall for his leadership in ensuring that corporate polluters are required to pay their fair share.”
– Lena Moffitt, Sierra Club Our Wild America senior director
Taxpayers for Common Sense calculated that New Mexico’s state government has lost an estimated $2.5 billion in revenue over the last decade because of outdated federal rental rates, below-market royalty rates, and waste from oil and gas wells, with federal taxpayers losing an equivalent amount as well.
US public lands map from WikiMedia Commons