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"But this time, I want more than half." Thats what the federal government is now telling Wyoming, Montana, Utah, Colorado, New Mexico and other states that allow for the production of minerals on their lands. An even split is not enough for our federal government, a government that is hemorrhaging money from practically every department, agency and program.

So, in an attempt to satisfy an insatiable appetite for money, the Administrations budget plan is to take more of it away from our states, about $40 million more every year. Im referring to net receipt sharing, the sharing of receipts from mineral leasing activities on public lands. This is money that our state governments actually use for roads, health care of our statesresidents, education for our children, more efficient and environmentally friendly development of our energy resources. Its money that finds its way directly to the people, not down some bureaucratic black hole. Similar policy, implemented in 1991 and initially repealed in 2000, led to the loss of nearly $250 million in statesrevenues. Now theyre back again, trying to take more money away from the states.

The federal government has maneuvered itself to be in a position where it can take an even higher percentage of our mineral royalty money. Last year, the fiscal year 2008 Consolidated Appropriations Act took 2 percent of net receipt sharing of federal mineral royalties from the states. Furthermore, the Administrations budget includes a plan to make permanent a 2 percent net royalty receipt sharing provision in fiscal year 2009. I ask my colleagues now, whether your state is being taken advantage of or not, whether you are a Democrat or a Republican, to stand with us and support my amendment Amendment # 4214 - to restore the 2 percent net receipt sharing of federal mineral royalties loss of the states in last years appropriations bill. You know as well as I do that your states money could be next.

The federal government collects mineral royalties from states who allow for energy production on their lands. Under the law, the states are entitled to half of the royalties collected. To distribute the state share, the law intends for the Minerals Management Service to divide the amount of mineral royalties collected by two, write a check for that amount, and mail it to the states. Thats all it entails. But the federal governments feeble excuse was that it needed an extra two percent share for administrative costs. Sounds like a Washington shakedown to me.

As an accountant, I can tell you that dividing by two and writing a check does not take a significant amount of time. Somehow, the Administration believes that it deserves approximately $40 million per year do this activity. This is logic that only happens inside the Beltway and is patently unfair. A disproportionate share of this funding, about $20 million, comes from my home state of Wyoming, which supplies a disproportionate share of energy to our country. Yet the federal government still wants more.

We need to pass my amendment not only to keep the mineral royalty system fair and equal, not only to ensure that more money is used directly to help people rather than for trumped up administrative charges, but also to ensure that a few states arent trapped in a corner by the Administration and some in Congress who have their ideas for the money.

Unlike bureaucrats, we answer to our constituents. Mine are telling me they dont want the federal government to take any more of our states money. Im sure yours will tell you the same thing, either now or later. Think about that and support my amendment which would help ensure the federal government gets a fair share, but not our statesshare.