U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney introduced legislation this week that would compensate Wyoming and other states for millions of dollars in revenue they lost because of President Joe Biden’s oil and gas leasing moratorium enacted earlier this year.
The Payment In Lieu of Lost Resources (PILLR) Act would compensate states for the property rentals, bonuses, royalties and severance taxes lost as a result of a halt on the lease of federal land for energy development issued by the federal government.
“The executive orders signed by President Biden on his first day in office targeting the energy industry were misguided,” Cheney said this week about the bill.
“Not only did these unfair mandates negatively impact the work of energy producers in Wyoming, but they cost our state a key source of revenue that we depend on to educate our kids, support our first responders, and provide for other critical needs,” she said.
“While the best course of action would be to allow new energy leases and permits to move forward unimpeded, the bill I’ve introduced will ensure that citizens in Wyoming and other states that rely on money generated by the energy industry are compensated the full amount of the revenue lost so they can continue to meet the needs of their citizens, despite the Biden Administration’s thoughtless and political agenda,” she continued.
The bill could bring in $100 million in revenue for Wyoming, according to an estimate from University of Wyoming economics professor Dr. Timothy Considine.
Gov. Mark Gordon said he supports the bill.
“Since the inception of the Biden moratorium on federal oil and gas lease sales, I have emphasized that this bad idea would disproportionately affect western states like Wyoming,” Gordon said this week.
“Even though the BLM has begun the scoping process for the lost sales scheduled for the first two quarters of the year, Wyoming and our local counties will not receive any lease bonus bids this calendar year, a loss of millions of dollars. Congresswoman Cheney’s bill is a great start in restoring Wyoming’s lost revenue,” the governor said.
Jim Willox, the chairman of the Wyoming County Commissioners Association, also praised Cheney for her work on this legislation.
“The Wyoming County Commissioners Association applauds Congresswoman Cheney’s efforts to see that states and counties continue to receive royalty payments despite the Biden Administration’s attempt to halt oil and gas leasing on public lands,” Willox said.
“Wyoming relies on these funds to provide essential services, including education, libraries, courthouses and judicial systems, public health and senior centers, safe roads and more. This bill ensures that Wyoming’s counties and communities do not suffer as a result of this Administration’s leasing ban,” he said.
A study from the American Petroleum Institute issued in 2020 estimated that $641 million in revenue would be at risk for the State of Wyoming if a federal leasing and development ban were enacted.
A report released last week by the administration of President Joe Biden recommended an overhaul of the system used to lease parcels of federal land for oil and gas drilling to limit areas available for development and increase the cost for companies to drill on public lands and waters, according to NPR.
The report by the Interior Department stopped short of recommending an end to oil and gas leasing on public lands, but officials told NPR it would lead to a more responsible leasing process that provides a better return to U.S. taxpayers.