Cubin Introduces Bill to Stop Federal Pick-Pockets
Legislation Would Return Mineral Royalty Payments to 50-50 Split
U.S. Representative Barbara Cubin (R-WY) introduced legislation last week that would prevent the federal government from taking more than $20 million annually from Wyoming in royalties paid on the extraction of minerals in the state.
"Last December, the federal government robbed Wyoming of nearly $20 million to pay for more government bureaucracy," Cubin said. "Wyoming deserves its fair share of profits from energy production that occurs within her borders. Our state relies on these critical funds to improve our schools, roads and hospitals. It is high time the federal government stops using western states as its own ATM."
Cubin joined several colleagues in the House of Representatives in introducing H.R. 5238, the Restoring the West's Fair Share Act of 2008.
In recent years the Administration has requested to change the terms by which the federal government and states share the tax revenues acquired from oil and gas leases on federal lands. In the past, this request has fallen on deaf ears.
Last December, however, the Democrat Majority honored the ill-advised Administration request by including within the FY08 Consolidated Appropriations Act a provision reducing the states' share of federal mineral receipts. Specifically, this provision requires the federal government to deduct two percent from the states' share to pay for the federal administration of the Minerals Leasing Program. Cubin's bill would restore the 50-50 balance.
Cubin and the entire Wyoming Delegation have worked aggressively to change this unfair split of royalty payments back to its original, equal division. The Delegation wrote a letter to Secretary of the Interior Dirk Kempthorne and Director of the Office of Management and Budget, Jim Nussle, last month asking them not to include the proposal in the President's Budget for fiscal year 2009.