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Washington, D.C. - The Wyoming delegation thinks enough is enough when it comes to the recently enacted provision that would essentially steal two percent of Wyoming’s mineral royalties, costing Wyoming nearly $20 million a year.

 

To stop this federal pickpocketing from going forward, the delegation began the process of building a coalition of members to oppose the royalty change. The first step in the process began with a letter to the Secretary of the Interior as well as the Director of the Office of Management and Budget asking the agencies to halt the inclusion of  “net receipt sharing” in the President’s budget proposal for the Department of Interior for 2009. The delegation will continue to lead this effort and build the coalition.

 

“It is unconscionable that the Department of Interior and the Office of Management and Budget would propose to take money from states used to pay for important priorities, including educational improvements, to pay for more program administration. This appropriation does not serve the taxpayers who fund the government nor does it serve the states who allow for energy production to happen within their borders.

 

“We strongly opposed the inclusion of this provision in the fiscal year 2008 Consolidated Appropriations Act. We do not believe the measure received thorough consideration and believe that if it had received such consideration, it would have been removed,” the delegation and other members of impacted states wrote in a Jan. 29 letter.

 

A copy of the letter is below.

 

 

January 29, 2008

 

The Honorable Dirk Kempthorne

Secretary

United States Department of the Interior

1849 C Street, NW

Washington, DC 20240

 

The Honorable Jim Nussle

Director

Office of Management and Budget

725 17th Street, NW

Washington, DC 20503

Dear Secretary Kempthorne and Director Nussle,

We are writing to urge you to avoid the inclusion of “net receipt sharing” as part of the President’s Budget for fiscal year 2009 for the Department of the Interior.  The proposal would reduce the States’ share of receipts from mineral leasing activities on public lands by two percent annually.  Previous budget documents have suggested that this reduction is necessary to defray administrative costs at the Department.

 

We strongly disagree with this assertion and oppose the Department taking money that is rightfully owed to our states in order to pay for more federal bureaucracy.  It is unconscionable that the Department of the Interior and the Office of Management and Budget would propose to take money from states used to pay for important priorities, including educational improvements, to pay for more program administration.  This appropriation does not serve the taxpayers who fund the government nor does it serve the states who allow for energy production to happen within their borders.

 

Similar policy, implemented in 1991 and initially repealed in 2000, led to the loss of nearly $250 million in States’ revenues.  The inclusion of this proposal in the fiscal year 2008 Consolidated Appropriations Act (P.L. 110-161) will once again allow for this harmful provision to have a negative impact on States.

 

We strongly opposed the inclusion of this provision in the fiscal year 2008 Consolidated Appropriations Act.  We do not believe the measure received thorough consideration and believe that if it had received such consideration, it would have been removed.  We hope the Department of the Interior and the Office of Management and Budget will recognize the problematic nature of this provision and will avoid including the proposal in the President’s Budget for fiscal year 2009.

 

Thank you for your consideration of our request.

Sincerely,

Senator Mike Enzi

Senator John Barrasso

Senator Jon Tester

Senator Orrin Hatch

Senator Lisa Murkowski

Senator Wayne Allard

Senator Ken Salazar

Representative Barbara Cubin

Representative Stevan Pearce

Representative Cathy McMorris Rodgers

Representative Dean Heller

Representative Chris Cannon

Representative Rob Bishop

Representative Dennis R. Rehberg

Representative Wally Herger

Representative John T. Doolittle

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