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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 Staff Writer On Thursday, the Biden administration announced detailed steps to protect 30% of America’s lands and waters by 2030. The report, titled “Conserving and Restoring America the Beautiful,” calls for a 10-year commitment to making conservation and restoration a priority. The plan details strategies to purify drinking water, increase green space, improve access to outdoor […]
by Amy Lupica, ODP Staff Writer As the world rushes to save charismatic species like pandas, whales, and even bees, one unseen class of animals has been left behind, and the consequences could resonate through every aspect of human life. Earthworms, beetles, springtails, and other underground organisms are being damaged and killed by farm pesticides. Without these “unsung heroes,” the […]
Last week, the Florida legislature passed a bill that gives the sugar industry protection from long-term public health damage lawsuits. The Florida sugar industry says it will protect farmers from frivolous lawsuits, but opponents and many environmental groups say if it becomes law, it would grant the industry immunity from accountability.
Why This Matters: Sugarcane agriculture in the Everglades Agricultural Area (EAA) has health consequences for the surrounding humans, wildlife, and environment.
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