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Incredible Newsweek Story Highlights Outrageous Dirty Energy Welfare, Taxpayer Ripoff

2 min. read

No matter your political persuasion, this story should get your blood boiling (and your hand reaching for your telephone to call your Congressman) over this outrageous dirty energy corporate welfare.

The Roan Plateau figured prominently in that turnaround, reaping the greatest amount ever paid in the lower 48 states to the U.S. Treasury by drillers looking to strike it rich on federal land. Yet the total paid for ground leases came to just over $100 million, a drop in the bucket compared with the revenue oil and gas companies reported in the whole of Colorado that year – well over $9 billion...

...America owns an enormous swath of the land at the heart of the nation's energy boom – stunning wildlife territories like the Roan Plateau, where oil and gas can be found alongside rare plant and animal habitats – but American taxpayers are not very much benefitting financially.

...the cost of leases has not budged, even as America has witnessed an energy revolution and oil prices have climbed to more than $100...

Americans may be surprised to learn that although leases on taxpayer-owned territories can fetch thousands of dollars an acre in the competitive bidding process, the starting bid for an annual lease to explore for 10 years is just $2 an acre. (That is not a typo.) Put it this way: America charges less for drilling on an acre of taxpayer-owned land for a decade than Starbucks charges for a cup of coffee. According to the Bureau of Land Management, the arm of the U.S. Department of the Interior that manages land leases, there are no plans to change that.

If you factor in inflation, the spending power of $2 in 1987 is the equivalent of 50 cents today, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. So, even as energy prices skyrocket, the nation is charging Big Oil a quarter of what it did 30 years ago...

Perhaps the ultimate sucker punch for Americans is that while the U.S. gives to Big Oil huge volumes of our commonly owned oil and gas reserves every year, Big Oil takes it, processes it and sells it back to U.S. consumers at top dollar.

There's a lot more, all of it infuriating, and we recommend you read the entire article carefully. In addition, we recommend that you keep this dirty energy corporate welfare boondoggle story in mind the next time you encounter fossil fuel propaganda about how they're (supposedly) good citizens who (supposedly) pay their fair share of taxes, etc.  As this Newsweek article makes crystal clear, they aren't and they don't.