Oil and gas leases on federal lands are overdue for review according to former Montana revenue manager Dan Bucks in a report released Wednesday.
The report comes four months after President Joe Biden took a break on oil and gas leases. Bucks said on Wednesday that decades have passed without a significant overhaul of the leasing program run by the Home Office.
“Montana and the Montanans have been particularly affected by unnecessary and unproductive federal leasing,” Bucks said during a press call. “The interior has overwhelmed Montana with more than a million acres of suspended oil and gas leases, more than any other state under 48 years old. Suspended leases do not produce oil or gas, a penny of rent, or any kind of income for the public. “
Bucks produced a similar report with Taxpayers for Common Sense in 2015, as the Obama administration suspended oil, gas and coal leases to determine whether the public was getting a fair price for the extraction. Wednesday’s findings were similar in that it found that the federal royalty rate of 12.5% for onshore oil and gas was significantly lower than the median royalty rate of 19.37% collected by states. He suggested that the federal government set the overseas royalties at 18.75%, the overseas rate. He suggested adjusting the minimum inflation rental rates and rental offers established in the 1980s.
The new report was commissioned by the Wilderness Society. The publication noted that more than 3 million acres of federal land was locked into non-resulting leases and oil and gas production. Several states have shortened oil and gas leases to promote development. Montana is an outlier with a 10-year head lease.