Change in royalties distribution could cost Wyoming millions

Casper, WY – A federal spending bill is likely to cost Wyoming millions by reducing the state's share of royalties from oil, gas and coal production.

Currently states and the federal government evenly split royalties from federal oil, gas and coal reserves. A spending bill recently approved by Congress would reduce states' share to 48 percent and increase the federal government's share to 52 percent.

During fiscal year 2007, federal mineral royalties totaling $1.9 billion went back to 34 states based on the 50-50 split. Wyoming got the biggest portion of that, $925 million.

That means Wyoming stands to lose the most money under the new formula.

The bill has cleared the House and Senate and is headed to President Bush.