Governor Mark Gordon and U.S. Sen.-elect Cynthia Lummis on Tuesday both shared their concerns over a possible federal ban on oil and gas leasing.
Gordon, in a press conference, released a study that said the state could lose more than $300 million a year in tax revenue if a ban were enacted.
“A federal leasing ban would be a serious threat to our state’s economy,” Gordon said. “The revenue challenges that we currently face would be further exacerbated by any misguided federal policies that unfairly target states with large swaths of federal land.”
Lummis sounded a higher-level alarm, calling a ban “catastrophic” for Wyoming both in terms of revenue and jobs and pledged to fight against it.
“This highlights why I started this week in Georgia,” Lummis said.
“If we lose control of the Senate, stopping horrible actions like a federal drilling ban become extremely difficult.”
In order for the Republican Party to keep control of the United States Senate, both Republican candidates need to win their respective races in Georgia’s January runoff.
During his campaign for the White House, Joe Biden pledged to halt oil and gas leasing on federal land, along with hydraulic fracturing or “fracking.”
According to the study referenced by Gordon and commissioned by Wyoming’s Legislature, the value of lost production in Wyoming under a federal leasing moratorium during the first five years would average $872 million.
That translates to more than $300 million per year in lost tax revenue annually, which includes severance tax, ad-valorem tax , federal royalties and lease bonus payments.
Over 15 years that revenue loss would increase to $1.7 billion. In the event of a drilling ban, the loss to Wyoming’s revenues would increase to $345 million per year, increasing to $1.8 billion over 15 years.
The study estimates the investment and production losses from policies that restrict oil and gas development on federal lands in Wyoming, New Mexico, Colorado, Utah, Montana, North Dakota, California and Alaska. Those policies include either a moratorium on all new federal leases or an outright drilling ban on all onshore federal lands.
The study estimates investment losses over the 8 states and 20 years to be in excess of $300 billion for either the leasing or drilling ban. The tax losses to the states exceed $110 billion. The overall loss of economic growth is over $600 billion.
Funding for the study came from a one-time appropriation by the Wyoming Legislature during the 2020 budget session.