Royalties Provide Bonanza for States
Thirty-four states earned more than $1.9 billion during 2007 (fiscal year) as part of their share of federal revenues collected by the Department of the Interior’s Minerals Management Service (MMS), officials recently announced.
That figure is down from the 2006 fiscal year payments to states, which was $2.2 billion, according to the MMS.
Officials said the slight decline is the result of several factors, including lower natural gas prices during the fiscal year and a drop in lease sale bonuses from the previous year.
MMS is the federal bureau within the Department of the Interior responsible for collecting, auditing and disbursing revenues associated with mineral leases on federal and American Indian lands. Disbursements are made to states on a monthly basis from royalties, rents, bonuses and other revenues collected by MMS.
This marked the first full year that MMS distributed funds from geothermal energy production directly to the individual counties where that production occurs.
Randall Luthi, MMS director, noted the Energy Policy Act of 2005 mandated that 25 percent of receipts from geothermal energy production be disbursed directly to counties where that production occurs, in an effort to increase use of that alternative energy resource.
As part of that mandate, and included in the $1.9 billion distributed overall, MMS distributed more than $4.3 million to 32 counties in the states of California, Idaho, New Mexico, Nevada, Oregon and Utah.
Wyoming led all states in 2007 by receiving more than $925 million (see chart) as its share of revenues collected from mineral production on federal lands within its borders, including oil, gas and coal production.
“These revenues from mineral production on federal lands play a crucial role in many state budgets,” Luthi said. “The funds support everything from education to infrastructure improvements and capital projects.”