The federal government could raise an additional $1.2 billion over the next decade through higher fees and royalties on crude oil and natural gas drillers and revamped oil and gas lease auctions, according to a report from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO). While CBO offered no recommendations, it analyzed several options to increase federal income from oil and gas on federal lands. Those options included increasing production by opening new federal lands; repealing tax preferences for companies producing oil or gas on federal lands; imposing fees on non-producing parcels; increasing the royalty rate for onshore production to 18.75% from the current 12.5%; increasing the royalty rate for offshore leases when oil or gas prices reach certain thresholds, and a series of revisions to the Bureau of Land Management's lease auction process. Gross income from onshore oil and gas resources averaged $3 billion annually from 2005 to 2014, and $8 billion came from offshore resources during the same period, CBO said. Last year, the Department of Interior launched a plan to adjust royalty rates on federal lands (see Daily GPI, April 17, 2015).
Police in Holland Township, NJ, arrested resident Lester Kinney Jr. this week and charged him with making terroristic threats and possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose after an altercation with a PennEast Pipeline Co. LLC crew, the company said on Thursday. The incident occurred on April 19, when Kinney allegedly approached a three-person crew in Holland that had stopped to confirm property information about an authorized survey. Kinney allegedly asked the crew members if they worked for PennEast Pipeline. After the crew answered yes, Kinney "held up the rifle, began waving it in the air, shouted in opposition to the project and vowed that he would prevent it," the company said. The 118-mile, utility-backed pipeline would deliver Marcellus Shale gas from Northeast Pennsylvania to New Jersey (see Daily GPI, Aug. 12, 2014). Like similar projects in the region, it has faced staunch opposition from residents and local officials, including negative comments filed with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, demonstrations and lawsuits.