'We're talking about an awful lot of money'

Institute for Energy Research President Thomas J. Pyle's year-end response to the US Minerals Management Service's distribution of a record $23.4 billion to states, Indian tribes and the federal treasury in fiscal 2008.

Jan 9th, 2009

Institute for Energy Research President Thomas J. Pyle, in a year-end response to the US Minerals Management Service's Nov. 20 announcement that it distributed a record $23.4 billion from energy production on federal lands to states, Indian tribes and the federal treasury in fiscal 2008:

"As lawmakers look to increase government revenue this year by thinking up creative new ways to separate taxpayers from their money, they and the people they represent would be well-served to take note of the $23.4 billion in royalties, rents, and bonus payments made available thanks to the responsible development of America's abundant energy resources. In fact, almost $10 billion of that sum was directed to taxpayers in the form of bonus bids alone, which means that even when no new energy was produced, taxpayers still got paid.

"Keep in mind this is money that flows to state, local and federal coffers completely separate from the hundreds of billions of dollars in taxes and fees tied to domestic energy exploration. All told, we're talking about an awful lot of money: as much as $4 trillion in potential revenue waiting to be collected and disbursed, according to one recent study. As it is, energy production accounts for hundreds of billions of dollars in government revenue each year, none of which would available to taxpayers today if opponents of responsible energy development had their way.

"At a time of unprecedented economic insecurity, the new Congress and incoming administration have pledged to leave no stone unturned in looking for ways to get our economy back on track. Fair enough. But if they're interested in finding a plan that creates millions of new jobs, billions in new revenue, and doesn't cost taxpayers a penny, they'll need to dig just a little bit deeper – preferably below the surface."

Contact Nick Snow at nicks@pennwell.com

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