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Why This Matters: Permanent funding for parks and conservation is long overdue — on top of the environmental benefits, it creates jobs and helps ensure that every American has access to nature. Tying the $900m fund to fossil fuel development is paradoxical and the funding stream will decrease as we reduce our drilling on federal lands and waters. Right now, however, it is important to secure permanent funding — the source could change later as we begin to develop funding from renewable sources on federal lands. Bishop is being obstructionist — it’s not that he cares about stable funding for parks.
Royalties Are Down
According to the Congressional Research Service, the Interior’s Office of Natural Resources Revenue reported offshore oil and gas royalty collections of $100 million in May, which is 84 percent lower than royalty collections in May 2019. “The core provisions of H.R. 1957 rely upon unobligated receipts from energy development on federal lands and waters, and the CRS has just confirmed that these revenue streams have evaporated due to the pandemic,” Bishop said in a statement Monday, according to Politico. The revenue for the Land and Water Conservation Fund has always come from oil and gas royalties — the law would make the funding permanent.
Many have questioned the perverse incentives created by using energy revenues for conservation, arguing that this might make oil and gas development more acceptable. But the logic of the program also made some sense — it was a way to repay the public for the development of public lands. Given the push to end drilling on public lands and the likelihood that royalties are likely to decline over time, this funding model will need to change. Right now the revenues are down because the Trump Administration has actually been reducing or even excusing royalty payments altogether.
By Amy Lupica, ODP Daily Editor Today, the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) released its 2021 Plowprint Report, which tracks the amount of grasslands lost to plow-up each year. This year’s study found that plow-up across the Great Plains has only continued to accelerate, releasing exorbitant amounts of carbon into the atmosphere. The report concludes that […]
By Ashira Morris, ODP Staff Writer With global temperatures rising and rainfall patterns changing, global agriculture is shifting too — with big changes projected. Places like Siberia and northern Canada that have been too frigid for farming in centuries past are expected to become cropland by the end of the century. But it’s not a […]
By Amy Lupica, ODP Staff Writer The National Park Service has closed down a large swathe of Alaska’s Denali National Park after excessive permafrost thawing caused landslide activity near the park’s only access road. The access road is now closed, blocking entry to about half of the park. Park officials say that although there have been landslides in […]
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