Public lands belong to all of us, so when the federal government decides to lease them out to oil and gas drillers, those companies have to pay for depriving taxpayers of environmental and recreational benefits. And the Obama administration has decided that they’re not paying enough. So the Interior Department’s budget includes a proposal to raise royalties for oil and gas projects by 50 percent.
That means companies will have to pay 18.75 percent in royalties, up from 12.5 percent, to drill on public land. Offshore oil projects already pay the higher rate, CleanTechnica reports. Clean energy projects pay, too.
All of this means taxpayers will get “a better return” on leasing our land to Big Oil, the administration argues. For similar reasons, it’s also looking at charging higher fees for safety inspections of offshore oil leases.
The oil industry is not cool with the inspection fees, or the royalty hike for that matter. Because they’re already paying enough money to the government, which now wants to tax them even more! (Or, you know, stop giving them outrageous subsidies, but it’s harder to drum up Republican ire with that one.) We say: They can afford it.