The federal government has told the state of Wyoming that it will deduct 53 million dollars from the state’s share of federal mineral royalties between now and July as part of the federal sequester. The government says it may remove more money at a later date.
Wyoming is guaranteed 50 percent of the revenues from mineral leasing on federal lands in the state and state officials believe that the money cannot be tampered with. State Treasurer Mark Gordon says the state is pursuing all avenues to get the money back.
The Office of Natural Resources Revenue – or ONRR – saw a $1 billion increase in revenue from energy production on public lands. Wyoming’s share was more than $995 million – up from last year by more than $23 million.
With a growing quantity of coal being exported abroad, there’s some concern that companies are paying royalties using low, domestic rates for exports instead of the higher price sales abroad fetch to calculate their due share. ONRR spokesman Patrick Etchart says the agency audits companies, though not every year.