The Trump administration is dramatically slashing royalty rates for companies extracting oil and gas from public lands with minimal transparency while slapping renewable energy producers with $50 million in retroactive rental fees and expanding tariffs on solar panels, according to reports.
The move by the Interior Department’s Bureau of Land Management, was announced in a letter to companies late last month, just weeks after reports from numerous outlets, and uncorrected by the administration, that the administration would not grant royalty waivers. BLM told companies it would process their requests for relief within just five days and affirmatively stated royalty payments would not be reduced below 0.5%, Politico reported, and industry sources told E&E the agency has been deluged with requests.
The fast timeline and low minimum rate suggests, Hanna of Taxpayers for Common Sense told Politico, the process was “merely a rubber stamping process,” that “shows they are willing to accept virtually no royalties at all.”
“Not only does this boneheaded move shortchange American taxpayers and Western states at the worst possible time, it incentivizes oil production during the worst oil glut in history. That is the absolute last thing the market needs right now,” David Jenkins, president of Conservatives for Responsible Stewardship, said in a statement, according to the Washington Post, issued by his group.
“This is just another stark example of this administration’s bumbling pandemic response, one that is fiscally irresponsible and tone deaf to the most basic market principles.”