Today’s intricate web of energy subsidies allows energy companies to cash in on century-old, obsolete tax breaks. Loan guarantees force taxpayers to reimburse lenders if an energy company defaults on projects banks consider too risky.
Taxpayers pick up the tab for oil spills and abandoned mines. The General Mining Law of 1872 was partly intended to promote settlement of the West, but modern mining companies use it to extract valuable gold and copper from public lands without paying taxpayers a royalty. Taxpayers subsidize timber harvests and road construction intended primarily for profitable timber companies. The corporate giveaways embedded in our energy and natural resources policies benefit some of the most profitable companies in the world at the expense of taxpayers.
Public lands and waters are taxpayer assets that Congress should manage to preserve their value, ensure a fair return from private interests using them for profit, and avoid future taxpayer liabilities. Yet much federal policy governing the use of these valuable public assets and energy systems are based on grossly outdated policies. We work to bring transparency to federal land and asset management, and to push Congress and Administrations to establish rents, royalties, and fees for private development of public land so taxpayers receive a fair return.