August 31, 2020
WASHINGTON, DC – Today, U.S. Senators Mike Enzi and John Barrasso, and Representative Liz Cheney, all R-Wyo., applauded the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) final rule to streamline the royalty rate reduction process for non-energy solid leasable minerals. 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.
Minerals covered by the BLM’s new rule include soda ash, potash, phosphate, sodium, potassium, sulphur, and gilsonite.
“Soda ash is Wyoming’s top export and a crucial part of our economy,” Enzi said. “This rule to streamline regulations and remove unnecessary requirements is good news for our state and our country. It would help our producers remain competitive while making our country less reliant on countries like China for these essential minerals.”
“This long-awaited rule brings us one step closer to giving American soda ash producers the certainty they need to stay competitive in the global market,” Barrasso said. “For too long, American producers have had to battle unfair trade practices of China and other countries. Today’s rule sets the stage for Sec. Bernhardt to finally lower the royalty rate on soda ash. This will level the playing field against China and preserve these high-paying jobs in Wyoming.”
“The Trump Administration has taken important action to reduce soda ash royalty rates in order to level the playing field for Wyoming and other U.S. trona producers,” Cheney said. “Wyoming has the largest deposit of trona in the world, and this rule will allow Wyoming producers to expand their operations and create much needed jobs in our state.”
The final rule makes two key changes that could affect the royalties and rental fees paid by producers of solid leasable minerals other than coal and oil shale on federal lands.
First, it streamlines the process by which producers of these minerals could apply for a reduction in their royalty rate, rental fee or minimum production requirements. This allows the BLM to approve a reduction on a lease-by-lease basis if the agency finds that a lease cannot be successfully operated under current market conditions.
In addition, the final rule enables the BLM to reduce the rental fee, royalty rate, or minimum production requirements on its own initiative if the agency finds that a reduction is necessary to develop a type of solid minerals on an area- or on an industry-wide basis.