Substantial increase in LWCF funds for conservation
Date: November 30, 2017
WASHINGTON – U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke announced today that Interior’s Office of Natural Resources Revenue (ONRR) disbursements from energy and minerals production on Federal and American Indian lands and offshore areas totaled $7.11 billion in Fiscal Year 2017, an increase of nearly $1 billion over the previous year. States received $1.44 billion, Tribal governments and individual mineral rights owners received nearly $676 million, and $950 million went toward the Land and Water Conservation Fund, which invests in outdoor recreation opportunities and conservation in America's state and local parks. The funds are derived from energy and minerals production on Federal and Indian lands and U.S. offshore areas. These revenues are a critical source of non-tax funding.
“Under President Trump’s American Energy Dominance agenda, we’ve increased energy funds by a billion dollars in our first year alone. That money goes right back to communities for things like public works projects, educational improvements, conservation and parks, and infrastructure upgrades,” Secretary Zinke said. “Energy is about more than just electricity and gas, it’s about a strong economy and strong communities. As the administration continues to cut red tape and end the overregulation of responsible energy development, we will be able to direct more funds to local communities and create more good-paying American jobs.”
"These additional revenues to states, including my home state of Utah, are just the beginning. They make a big difference – they pay for schools and public services. This critical stream of revenue supports rural communities across the country. I hope to see steady increases in these revenues as we continue to work with the administration to unlock American’s energy potential,” Chairman Rob Bishop (R-UT) said.
“The New Mexico economy relies greatly on natural resource production and development. With energy production comes good-paying jobs, lower energy costs, and much needed revenues for local New Mexican communities. This money, disbursed by the Office of Natural Resource Revenue (ONRR), will go back to New Mexico to help fund teacher’s salaries, improve our roads, and develop our communities so people and businesses can have access to greater opportunities to succeed,” Congressman Steve Pearce said.
ONRR disbursed nearly $1.44 billion of the FY 2017 energy revenues to 36 states, as their cumulative share of revenues collected from oil, gas, and mineral production on Federal lands within their borders and from offshore oil and gas tracts in Federal waters adjacent to their shores. The top states receiving FY 2017 revenues were:
Louisiana, and Montana also saw large increases in disbursements at $1.3 million and $1.02 million increase respectively. A complete list of states receiving revenues through FY 2017 is available on the Natural Resources Revenue Data portal located at https://revenuedata.doi.gov/.
In addition to state disbursements, $675.8 million was disbursed to American Indian tribes and individual Indian mineral owners; $1.14 billion to the Reclamation Fund; $959 million to the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF); $150 million to the Historic Preservation Fund; and the remaining $2.5 billion to the U.S. Treasury.
The revenues disbursed to the 34 Federally-recognized American Indian tribes and nearly 35,000 individual Indian mineral owners represents 100 percent of the revenues received for energy and mineral production activities on Indian lands. Most revenues are disbursed through the Interior Department’s Bureau of Indian Affairs and the Office of Special Trustee for American Indians. Some Indian tribes have direct payment authorization from the Department of Interior and receive their energy and mineral revenue directly through an established lockbox deposit account. Tribes use these revenues to develop infrastructure, provide healthcare and education, and support other critical community development programs, such as senior centers, public safety projects, and youth initiatives.
“The Navajo Nation appreciates its ongoing working partnership with the Department of the Interior,” said Rowena Cheromiah, Navajo Nation's Minerals Royalty and Audit Manager. “For many years, we’ve worked together to ensure that the Navajo Nation is receiving accurate royalty payments for its mineral resources on Navajo Nation lands.”
These disbursements also included a substantial increase to the LWCF and U.S. Treasury from Phase II revenue sharing under the Gulf of Mexico Energy Security Act of 2006 (GOMESA), which took effect in FY2017. The GOMESA portion of the LWCF disbursement -- $67 million -- remains available until expended; the $892 million regular LWCF distribution for FY2017 must be used within 3 years. The Gulf producing states and coastal political subdivisions will receive their disbursements of FY 2017 qualified revenues in FY 2018, as required by the legislation.
The $7.11 billion disbursed in FY 2017 compares to the $6.23 billion the Department disbursed in FY 2016. The increase in disbursements is primarily attributed to a larger number of lease sales totaling higher acreage, efforts to streamline permitting and reduce regulatory burdens, and higher oil and gas prices experienced during the year as the economy and exports have continued to expand. All Federal, non-renewable energy revenues are collected, accounted for, analyzed, audited, and disbursed by ONRR from energy and mineral leases and other monies owed for the use of public resources on the U.S. Outer Continental Shelf and onshore Federal and American Indian lands. Since 1982, ONRR has disbursed more than $294 billion in mineral leasing revenues. ONRR makes most disbursements on a monthly basis from the royalties, rents, and bonuses it collects from energy and mineral companies operating on federal lands and waters.
The Land and Water Conservation Fund, established by Congress in 1964, invests in projects that help strengthen communities, preserve American history and protect national endowments of lands and waters. The Reclamation Fund, which Congress established in 1902, funds the development of irrigation projects on arid and semiarid lands of the 17 western states. The Historic Preservation Fund provides matching grants to State and Tribal historic preservation offices to pay for surveys of historic resources, training, nominations to the National Register of Historic Places, and preservation grants to local jurisdictions.
The FY 2017 disbursement data is scheduled to be published on the Natural Resources Revenue Data portal located at https://revenuedata.doi.gov/ on November 30, 2017.