GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KKCO) Colorado and other states will get their full share of money from the leasing of federal lands for mining or drilling while the U.S. Interior Department reconsiders whether the current budget fight applies to that money.
The Office of Natural Resources Revenue wrote to Colorado Treasurer Walker Stapleton on Monday and told him funds held back this year will be available in the next fiscal year.
According to the Mesa County Federal Mineral Lease District this is simply a band-aid solution to a problem that stems from the Department of Interior's legal interpretation of the royalties received from drilling or mining on federal lands.
David Ludlam, President of the Mesa County FML district, believes the royalties collected by the federal government on mining or drilling that occurs on federal land should not be subject to sequestration.
Ludlam says that the money collected is not a federal expenditure or a federal appropriation subject to sequestration, similar to an income tax. It is instead a royalty which the states and federal government share under the law.
The way these royalties are shared is predefined according to title 30 law U.S.C. 191. 51% of the royalties collected by mining and drilling on federal land goes to the federal government, while 49% of those funds should be returned to the state where the mining and drilling takes place for redistribution to the counties where the land resides.
The Mesa County FML district has joined in the objection filed by the Conference of Western Attorneys General earlier in August.