It's April and tax season is here. We might grumble and complain, yet every year tens of millions of dollars of our resources are wasted from inefficient oil and gas operations on public lands. This is real value taken out of the pocket of U.S. taxpayers.
The loss, or wastage, of methane -- vented, flared or allowed to leak from existing oil and gas operations has prompted the U.S. Bureau of Land Management to put a rule in place to make sure taxpayers get a fair return off minerals severed from the public domain.
In Colorado, oil and gas operators have already been required, by the state, to control their methane waste. Without the rule, Colorado taxpayers still lose out in tens of millions in federal revenue, from more than $36 million of missing royalties in wasted gas over the last five years. With the rule those funds would be split 51 percent to the federal treasury and 49 percent to the states. Colorado benefits by ensuring a fair return across all public lands in the West.
A majority of Colorado voters, of all political affiliations, favor a strong methane waste rule. Most probably don't love filing tax returns. The prudent use and stewardship of our resources has broad and bipartisan appeal. The captured methane would pay a royalty to the American people.
Taxpayers would benefit from the revenue that returns to state and local governments from limiting waste and ensuring Americans gets a fair return.
Comments to the BLM on the methane rule are due April 22.