StatementTCS Statement on Senate Oil & Gas Reforms in Build Back Better ActA common sense step forward to modernize the antiquated federal leasing system

Energy & Natural Resources,  | Quick Take
Dec 15, 2021  | 3 min read | Print Article

Today, a draft of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources section of the Build Back Better Act was made public. In response, Taxpayers for Common Sense president, Steve Ellis, issued the following statement:

We applaud Senator Manchin and members of the Senate Energy Committee for pursuing important fiscal reforms to our oil and gas leasing system. These reforms are a common sense step forward for taxpayers. They are a long-overdue modernization of the antiquated system for managing development on federal lands as we continue to strive for greater energy independence in the global marketplace.

For decades, taxpayers have lost billions of dollars in much needed revenue because of a broken federal oil and gas leasing system. The century-old royalty rate has not kept pace with states, and minimum bid and rental rates have not been corrected for inflation since President Reagan was in office. These overdue, reasonable reforms are fiscally responsible, and lawmakers should pass this and more to ensure taxpayers get a fair return for the resources we own.


Taxpayers for Common Sense is a nonpartisan budget watchdog that has served as an independent voice for the American taxpayer since 1995. It works to ensure that taxpayer dollars are spent responsibly and that government operates within its means.


Selected TCS Oil and Gas Reports:

TCS Comments to the Department of the Interior on the Federal Oil and Gas Program Review

  • Overview of the fiscal terms, management practices, and data systems needing reform.

Oil & Gas Reform Won’t Raise Prices at the Pump

  • Simple explanation of why raising the royalty rate for onshore leases could never impact consumer gasoline prices.

Abandoned Wells and Oil and Gas Bonding FAQ

  • Discussion and explanation of the interconnected issues of outdated standards for financial guarantees from lessors and taxpayer-funded reclamation work.

Noncompetitive Oil and Gas Leasing on Federal Lands

  • Thorough walk-through of the antiquated system allowing speculators and others to lock up land without paying an auction bid that rarely leads to production.

Royally Losing

  • Our 2020 report calculating max possible lost revenue from 12.5% royalty vs. 18.75% royalty over the last decade at $12.4 billion. Cited in DOI report.
New Dept. of Interior Report on Federal Oil & Gas Leasing



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