The federal government gives at least $7 billion per year in handouts to fossil fuel production on public lands and offshore through a combination of direct subsidies, enforcement loopholes, lax royalty collection, stagnant lease rates and other advantages to the industry, according to a new analysis by Oil Change International in partnership with 350.org and other groups. The report, Unequal Exchange: How Taxpayers Shoulder the Burden of Fossil Fuel Development on Federal Lands, for the first time outlines in detail the subsidies and other public support being provided to the U.S. fossil fuel industry for its activities on public lands. It presents an accounting of the minimum amounts of direct taxpayer dollars going to support fossil fuels on public lands, not including externalities such as climate and health impacts, which would bring the totals even higher. If those factors are taken into account, for example, mining coal in the Powder River Basin alone would have a net cost to the U.S. public of some $17.8 billion per year as of 2015. Particularly notable is a finding that some royalty and lease rates for fossil fuel development on public lands have remained unchanged since the 1920s.
– via EcoWatch