Energy production on federal lands accounts for a significant amount of total U.S. energy production. For example, in FY2013, approximately 27% of crude oil, 18% of natural gas, and 41% of coal production came from federal lands. Geothermal electric generating capacity on federal lands represents 40% of U.S total geothermal capacity. Solar and wind energy potential on federal lands is growing and based on Bureau of Land Management (BLM) approved projects, there is potential for 5,000 megawatts (MW) of wind and nearly 8,800 MW of solar energy annual capacity on federal lands, although currently the level of generation is low. The volumes and value of non-fuel mineral production on federal lands are uncertain because there are no reporting requirements, but could be high, especially for gold, the primary mineral mined (by value) on federal lands. Three royalty debates may be revived in the 114th Congress: (1) whether to increase the statutory minimum rate for onshore federal oil and gas leases from 12.5% to 18.75%, (2) whether to enact revenue sharing laws for Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) leases to include all coastal states, and (3) whether to charge a royalty on hardrock locatable minerals produced on federal public domain lands.
Date of Report: February 6, 2015
Order Number: IF10127
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