The Wyoming Board of Land Commissioners voted unanimously this/Thursday morning to approve a new lease form that will govern oil and gas extraction on state lands. Assistant Director of the Wyoming Office of State Lands and Investments Harold Kemp says the new form puts in writing many longstanding state requirements. For example, he says, it clarifies what deductions industry may claim before making royalty payments to the state. Kemp says the changes have been a long time coming.
"We haven't had a new oil and gas lease for almost 30 years, and I introduced the first one in 1985 and was summarily sent home with my tail between my legs. This is a great event in terms of marking the ability of the Board of Land Commissioners to get back in the driver's seat and have a greater measure of control in leasing their lands for oil and gas."
A proposal to raise the state's maximum royalty rate as part of this round of changes was taken off the table late last year. Representatives of state education groups reiterated their support for a higher rate ahead of the vote. Much of the money generated through oil and gas leasing on state land supports public education in the Wyoming.