BLM’s Failure Deprives Wyomingites of Millions in Revenue

The Biden Administration has refused to hold lease auctions in Wyoming for five consecutive quarters, despite federal law and a court order requiring them to do so

February 16, 2022

Casper, Wyo. –

In the same week that the Wyoming Legislature convened the 2022 Budget Session to set the state’s biennial budget, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) failed to issue a notice for competitive lease sale ahead of the 45-day deadline necessary to hold a lease auction in the first quarter of 2022 – a dereliction of duty that will have serious repercussions on Wyoming’s budget and impact funding for infrastructure, public education and other essential government services. Despite Congressionally mandated obligations under the Mineral Leasing Act and June 2021 nationwide injunction requiring the resumption of lease auctions, the Biden Administration has refused to offer mineral lease auctions in Wyoming for five consecutive quarters.

“Given Wyoming’s role as a leader in oil and natural gas production on federal lands, the Administration’s failure to uphold the law in regards to quarterly lease sales will have tangible negative impacts on the state and her people,” said Petroleum Association of Wyoming (PAW) President Pete Obermueller. “You would think in light of rising gas prices, rampant inflation and global instability the President would do everything in his power to unleash America’s natural resources – spurring the economy and reinforcing our national security in the process.”

From 2015 to 2020, lease auction revenues in Wyoming totaled $474 million and averaged $79 million annually. With the federal government returning 48% of those revenues to the state, Wyoming’s share averaged $37.9 million annually. Utilizing these averages, PAW estimates that since January of 2021 the federal government has shortchanged the people of Wyoming by more than $47 million.

Based on the state’s funding formulas, the losses to the state and local governments are estimated to include:

  • General Fund – $18.5 million
  • K-12 Education – $21.5 million
  • Public Infrastructure – $6 million
  • Cities and Towns – $1.4 million
  • The University of Wyoming – $990,000

About PAW: Representing Wyoming’s primary economic engine, the Petroleum Association of Wyoming, is the voice of the oil and gas industry. Our members produce 90% of Wyoming’s oil and gas, generating over $5 billion in economic activity and employing more than 19,000 of Wyoming’s hard-working men and women. PAW strives to foster mutually beneficial relationships with Wyoming’s landowners, businesses, and communities while promoting the sustainable production of Wyoming’s abundant resources.

The Petroleum Association of Wyoming provides a forum for education, interaction, and unified action for members, policymakers, and the public.