July 20, 2020 –
Today, following the release of a report from the Congressional Research Service (CRS) documenting an 84 percent decline in revenue from federal offshore oil royalty collections, House Committee on Natural Resources Ranking Republican Rob Bishop (R-Utah) called on House Democrats to delay consideration of H.R. 1957, the Great American Outdoors Act (GAOA). The report, titled “Effect of COVID-19 on Federal Land Revenues” reinforces warnings Bishop has recently made concerning the unstable revenue source for the GAOA.
“Given what has been confirmed by the Congressional Research Service and knowing how this language is drafted, it would be ludicrous for House Democrats to move forward with this bill without amendment. The core provisions of H.R. 1957 rely upon unobligated receipts from energy development on federal lands and waters, and the CRS has just confirmed that these revenue streams have evaporated due to the pandemic.”
The provisions of H.R. 1957 addressing deferred maintenance were pulled directly from Bishop’s bill, H.R. 1225, were originally drafted prior to the pandemic and subsequent oil demand collapse. Funding for these projects is to be derived from 50 percent of unobligated federal energy revenues during the preceding fiscal year. Last Friday, during a hearing on H.R. 1957 before the House Rules Committee Bishop warned Members that federal revenues tied to the bill were in jeopardy, and offered an amendment to help Democrats address the issue prior to House passage.
“Based on this data, the only component of the GAOA that actually means something to the American people and creates jobs is likely inoperable at this stage. With an 84 percent reduction in offshore oil revenues and a 53 percent reduction for onshore, Democrats have a problem. At a time when Americans are facing historic levels of unemployment and uncertainty, we’re being told we need to pass a bill that adds billions to the national debt with no material economic benefit.”
The CRS report states: “The expected impacts of the pandemic on onshore and offshore energy and mineral receipts appear to be focused primarily on energy minerals (i.e., oil, natural gas, and coal). These expectations stem from reported and ongoing reduced demand for liquid fuels for the transportation sector and reduced demand for coal and natural gas associated with the reduced demand for electricity and industrial activity.”
“For May 2020, the Office of Natural Resources Revenue reported onshore oil and gas royalty collections of $170 million, a decline of 53% from May 2019. ONRR reported offshore oil and gas royalty collections of $100 million, a decline of 84% from royalty collections for the same month in 2019,” the report adds. “The royalty collections for May reflect production and sales in April. ONRR reports new monthly data on an ongoing basis.”
To view the full report CLICK HERE.
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