Mounting Losses

ReportMounting LossesMismanagement of federal oil and gas leasing costs Montana millions

Energy & Natural Resources,  | Analysis
Feb 20, 2020  | 2 min read | Print Article

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Federal lands in Montana and other Western states contain significant reserves of oil and natural gas. The Bureau of Land Management (BLM), a federal agency within the Department of the Interior (DOI), manages these reserves and is charged with collecting fair market value from their development and sale. The BLM has failed in its mandate to ensure taxpayers receive a fair return from federal resources due to weak, decades-old management policies.

Pervasive problems within the federal oil and gas leasing system have led to billions of dollars in losses for the US treasury. These additional revenues could be used to address pollution costs and long-term liabilities inherent in resource development on federal lands. This report will focus on the BLM’s policy failures, many of which have remained unchanged for decades, and have resulted in lost revenues for both the federal treasury and the state of Montana.

Under current law, revenues from federal oil and gas development are shared with the states in which the development takes place. For every dollar of revenue the federal government brings in from oil and gas production within the state of Montana, the state receives about half. These funds are an important source of revenue for the U.S. treasury and the western states where the majority of federal oil and gas is produced. When the federal government fails to secure a fair return, the money left on the table deprives both federal taxpayers and the state in which development occurs.

Download or read the full report below.

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