merican taxpayers may not be getting the payout they deserve from oil and gas harvested on public lands, government investigators said Tuesday.
The U.S. now charges among the lowest royalty and lease rates in the world for onshore oil and gas activity. And while the Interior Department has hiked the rates it charges for offshore oil and gas leases on the outer continental shelf, the Government Accountability Office said internal regulations have blocked it from regularly doing the same on public land.
According to a new report from the GAO, it has been decades since the Interior Department’s Bureau of Land Management last updated onshore royalty rates, which are fixed in many regulations at 12.5 percent. By contrast, the government generally charges 18.75 percent royalties for oil and gas produced from federal waters.