The Home Office on Friday released a long-awaited report ordered by President Biden when he first took office as he paused state oil and gas leases, citing climate change concerns.
The report called for royalties on such public land leases to be increased, but kept them from ending completely, as environmental activists have called for.
A Home Office press release said the report identified “significant flaws in the oil and gas leasing program” and called for “significant reforms that should be implemented to ensure that the programs provide taxpayers with a fair return, discouraging speculation and” hold the operator responsible for remedial measures “. and involve communities and tribal, state and local governments more in decision-making. “
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“Our nation is facing a profound climate crisis that affects every American,” Interior Secretary Deb Haaland said in a statement. “The Ministry of the Interior is obliged to deal responsibly with our public land and our waters – to offer the taxpayer a fair return and to mitigate the worsening climate impact – while remaining steadfast in the pursuit of environmental justice.”
Haaland added, “This review outlines significant flaws in federal oil and gas programs and identifies important and urgent fiscal and programmatic reforms that will benefit the American people.”
The report itself notes that state oil and gas lease royalties “have not increased in 100 years,” and states that “leading oil and gas producing states apply royalties to state lands that are significantly higher than those on state land State Fees “and added that the license rate charged by Texas, for example,” can be twice the federal rate. “
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A chart included showed that federal oil and gas lease royalties are typically around 12.5%, while rates in Texas are between 20 and 25%. By comparison, the rates in California, Montana, North Dakota, Utah, and Wyoming are 16.67%, while Oklahoma is 18.75% and Colorado is 20%, the report said.
The interior also wants a hike in the binding rates for companies involved in the contracts, arguing that levels have not been raised in 50 years.
However, the proposal to increase royalties on oil and gas companies comes as Biden is already facing tremendous political heat over energy prices in the US, which have increased more than 50% in the last year and are a large part of the Soaring inflation in the nation had hitting Americans in their wallets – and hitting Biden’s polling numbers.
Earlier this week, Biden ordered the release of 50 million barrels of oil from the strategic oil reserve to halt the bleeding amid rising gas prices. and argue that Biden’s policies such as shutting down pipelines and ending federal leases fueled the scarcity.
The Wall Street Journal reported, following the Home Office report, “The American Petroleum Institute, the industry’s leading lobbying group, said the Biden administration is sending mixed signals, both calling for initiatives to cut gas prices and issuing a report that does American energy development costs. “
Meanwhile, climate activists are furious with the report, saying the recommendations don’t go far enough, and tossing Biden for failing to keep his election promise to completely end new state oil and gas leases.
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“As expected, Interior’s oil and gas report is a complete climate failure,” tweeted Taylor McKinnon of the Center for Biological Diversity environmental group. “His cowardly reform ideas require more oil and gas leases, which our climate cannot afford.
Before the report was released on Friday, McKinnon tweeted, “A news dump on the Friday after Thanksgiving would signal a creeping shame.