Tucson, Ariz. Sept 1, 2020– Chair Raúl M. Grijalva (D-Ariz.) said today that the Trump administration’s draft final rule providing a $177 million giveaway to producers of soda ash – an industry whose output has grown in the United States by about 1 percent per year since 1998 – is a perfect example of everything wrong with the president’s environmental and economic policies.
The rule – Draft Final Rule – Non-Energy Solid Leasable Minerals Royalty Rate Reduction Process – will be effective 30 days after publication in the Federal Register. It allows the administration to issue blanket royalty waivers for mining a number of minerals from public lands and represents another in a long line of Trump administration wealth transfers from the American people to natural resource extraction industries with no wider public benefit.
According to the Bureau of Land Management’s own analysis, the proposal “results in an estimated $177.4 million (or $17.7 million per year) in transfers of value with no net economic impact (gains from one party equal to losses from another) between the Federal Government, state and private leaseholders, and soda ash producers” – meaning that soda ash producers will get an estimated $177.4 million economic benefit at public expense with no upside for those outside the industry.
“This administration and its allies deliver constant lectures about why clean, renewable energy sources should compete without any assistance, and then when it’s time to give hundreds of millions of dollars away to old, destructive industries, it’s suddenly all about jobs,” Grijalva said today. “This administration exists to take your money, give it to its industry friends and call it an economic agenda. Trump and his cabinet look at the federal treasury as a piggy bank to break open and toss around until someone takes it away from them, and we should expect more of these giveaways until they’re removed from office.”