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Washington, D.C. – As first reported by The Casper Star-Tribune, Congresswoman Liz Cheney (R-WY) introduced legislation yesterday that would provide compensation to states for lost revenue as a result of a federal oil and gas leasing moratorium or pause that was instituted earlier this year following an executive order signed by President Biden. The full text of the legislation, which is named the PILLR Act (Payment In Lieu Of Lost Revenues) can be read here and additional details can be found below. Rep. Cheney also issued the following statement after introducing the bill: 

“The executive orders signed by President Biden on his first day in office targeting the energy industry were misguided. Not only did these unfair mandates negatively impact the work of energy producers in Wyoming, but they cost our state a key source of revenue that we depend on to educate our kids, support our first responders, and provide for other critical needs. While the best course of action would be to allow new energy leases and permits to move forward unimpeded, the bill I’ve introduced will ensure that citizens in Wyoming and other states that rely on money generated by the energy industry are compensated the full amount of the revenue lost so they can continue to meet the needs of their citizens, despite the Biden Administration’s thoughtless and political agenda.” -Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY) 

In addition to Rep. Cheney’s statement, please see the following from Wyoming Governor Mark Gordon in support of this legislation: 

“Since the inception of the Biden moratorium on federal oil and gas lease sales, I have emphasized that this bad idea would disproportionately affect western states like Wyoming.  Even though the BLM has begun the scoping process for the lost sales scheduled for the first two quarters of the year, Wyoming and our local counties will not receive any lease bonus bids this calendar year – a loss of millions of dollars. Congresswoman Cheney’s bill is a great start in restoring Wyoming’s lost revenue.” -Governor Mark Gordon (R-WY)

Jim Willox, the Chairman of the Wyoming County Commissioners Association (WCCA) said the following in response to Rep. Cheney’s decision to introduce this bill: 

“The Wyoming County Commissioners Association applauds Congresswoman Cheney’s efforts to see that states and counties continue to receive royalty payments despite the Biden Administration’s attempt to halt oil and gas leasing on public lands. Wyoming relies on these funds to provide essential services, including education, libraries, courthouses and judicial systems, public health and senior centers, safe roads and more. This bill ensures that Wyoming’s counties and communities do not suffer as a result of this Administration’s leasing ban.” -Jim Willox, President, Wyoming County Commissioners Association (WCCA)

BACKGROUND

While the leasing pause signed by President Biden earlier this year was lifted, the Bureau of Land Management waited until November 1 to publish a notice of lease sale, meaning that the next sales most likely won’t happen until January. The last oil and gas lease sale in the state was in December, 2020, so states will have gone a year without a sale, missing out on the revenue these projects would generate for that period of time. 

study from the American Petroleum Institute issued in 2020 estimated that $641 million in revenue would be at risk for the State of Wyoming if a federal leasing and development ban were enacted.

According to an estimate from Dr. Timothy Considine, who is a Professor of Economics in the School of Energy Resources at the University of Wyoming, the state of Wyoming would receive over $100M in revenue as a result of this legislation. See Dr. Considine’s breakdown below:

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