December 23, 2020
WASHINGTON, DC – Today, U.S. Senators Mike Enzi and John Barrasso, and Representative Liz Cheney, all R-Wyo., applauded the Department of the Interior’s (DOI) decision to lower the royalty rate for soda ash from 6% to 2% for ten years starting on Jan. 1, 2021.
“Soda ash may not be a household name, but it is Wyoming’s top export and American producers have been struggling against unfair trade practices from other countries like China,” Enzi said. “This decision to reduce the royalty rate will allow this critical Wyoming industry to remain competitive.”
“Today’s long-awaited action will give Wyoming soda ash producers the certainty we need to stay competitive in the global market,” Barrasso said. “American soda ash supports thousands of jobs across the country in a variety of sectors, including mineral production, cleaning supplies, glass and manufacturing. For too long, American producers have had to battle unfair foreign trade practices of China and other countries. Lowering the royalty rate will level the playing field against China and preserve these high-paying jobs in Wyoming.”
“Wyoming is home to the largest deposit of trona in the world and the soda ash it creates is a critical component in products we use every day. Senators Enzi, Barrasso and I have been working to secure a reduction in the industry-wide soda ash royalty rate as an essential step to ensuring Wyoming producers remain competitive in the global market against foreign competitors like China. This long-awaited royalty rate reduction will empower soda ash producers across our state to expand operations and create much-needed job opportunities and economic growth as we continue to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic,” Cheney said.
Natural soda ash, also known as sodium carbonate, is a raw material used to manufacture glass, detergents, and other industrial goods. Natural soda ash is produced from trona, a mineral found in high concentrations on federal land, primarily in California and Wyoming.
The United States exports almost 60 percent of its natural soda ash. For years, China has sought to capture the global market share from U.S. soda ash producers through unfair trade practices. China’s value-added tax (VAT) rebate for its own synthetic soda ash producers has artificially driven down prices in the global marketplace.
In August 2020, the Bureau of Land Management released its final rule to streamline the royalty rate reduction process for non-energy solid leasable minerals, including soda ash. The rule is estimated to save up to $5 million in regulatory costs over the next decade, helping the U.S. compete globally and supporting American jobs.