By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily
Wyoming could lose $12.9 billion in tax revenue if the energy moratorium implemented by President Joe Biden isn’t lifted in a timely manner, according to a University of Wyoming study.
The UW’s Enhanced Oil Recovery Institute issued a report this week that detailed the impacts of the drilling and leasing moratorium on federal lands, something many Wyoming officials have raised concerns about.
Biden issued an executive order in late January halting new oil and gas leasing on federal land to allow the Department of Interior time to conduct a comprehensive review of the federal leasing program and existing fossil fuel leases.
Even though gas fields were excluded from the report, it concluded that Wyoming would lose billions of dollars due to the moratorium. According to the report, 67% of Wyoming’s recoverable oil reserves are at risk due to Biden’s executive order.
It also stated 47% of surface and 68% of minerals in Wyoming are found on or under federal lands, as are 60% of the minerals within oil basins in the state.
The report added that its lost tax revenue projection was just an estimate and did not include state mineral royalties, associated gas production, taxes on ancillary industries that support oil production or lost jobs.
Late last month, Gov. Mark Gordon and a number of his fellow Republican governors sent a letter to Biden, asking him to withdraw the order.
The governors were unified in their support for an “all of the above energy approach” that relies on both fossil and renewable energy sources and said that “as governors, we believe that solutions come from innovation, not regulation,” stressing the importance of state primacy for emission standards.
Last month, Gordon informed federal officials that he is prepared to take all necessary actions to protect Wyoming from unilateral actions targeting and crippling its energy industries.
Wyoming Superintendent of Public Instruction Jillian Balow also joined four other western state school superintendents in asking Biden to reconsider the energy lockdown.
Their letter specifically noted that in Wyoming, the oil and natural gas industry contributed $740 million in K-12 education funding and $28 million to the state’s higher education system in 2019.