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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 A new study may reveal the mystery behind violently exploding craters in the Siberian tundra. Last year, a 17th massive permafrost crater cracked open in the Russian arctic; the first was spotted in 2013, leaving scientists searching for a reason as to why it had appeared. The craters, the most recent 100 […]
by Ashira Morris, ODP Staff Writer How much does a city weigh? You can’t put San Francisco on a scale, but new research from the US Geological Service estimates that the number is 1.6 trillion kilograms, about the same as 250,000,000 elephants. This isn’t just a clever math problem, though: all that weight is causing […]
by Ashira Morris, ODP Staff Writer The state of Indiana is home to 80 pits of coal ash, the toxic byproduct of burning coal, more than any other state in the country. These pits are not lined, allowing the ash to contaminate groundwater and rivers across the state. As the Indianapolis Star reports, power companies […]
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