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Natural Resources & Energy

Groups Weigh In On Lifting Crude Export Ban

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As lawmakers in Washington consider lifting the decades-old ban on crude oil exports, voices from around the country are weighing in on what the move would mean for the American public.

The oil industry’s top trade group has released a pair of brand new TV ads that tell viewers that lifting the ban would be good for national security and our economy. The American Petroleum Institute is running the ads in 12 states, including Colorado. The group estimates that allowing the foreign sale of US crude could increase domestic production by half a million barrels a day by 2020.

But a Colorado-based conservation group has a different analysis. The Center for Western Priorities says the rate producers pay to extract oil from federal lands needs to be updated before there is any substantial increase in production. The argument is that the federal government charges a higher royalty rate to drill off-shore than on federal land and that means taxpayers, especially those in the west, aren’t getting their fair share. 

“Currently a portion of the oil revenues that are brought in from western states go back to those states. And in the case of Wyoming, especially, it is a huge number. So there are specific state revenue implications for the oil producing states,” Aaron Weiss, of the Center For Western Priories, said.

On the state level, those funds are usually spent on things like school and road construction. In 2014, royalty payments from oil production on federal lands totaled nearly $1.5 billion. Those funds are roughly split between the state where the oil came from and the federal government.

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