U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), a senior member of the Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC), has offered an amendment to S.1867,the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2012 (FY12), that would promote energy development on military installations.
The measure would modify section 35 of the Mineral Leasing Act (30 USC 191) to allow the Department of Defense (DoD) to receive the Federal revenues from mineral exploration on military installations that are not paid to the state. Those revenues would then be required to be spent to offset maintenance and modernization costs of the military installation. Inhofe has long worked on this issue with U.S. Rep. Dan Boren (OK-D-2).
"At a time when our nation's military faces devastating budget cuts, it only makes sense to supplement maintenance and repair efforts at a base where energy development is providing a revenue stream," said Inhofe. "Currently, the installation receives no benefit from oil and gas exploration that takes place under their facilities. Not only would this help alleviate defense funding concerns, it would encourage further exploration to help end our nation's dependence on foreign sources of oil."
Larry Nortunen, Secretary and Treasurer of the McAlester Defense Support Association said, "Senator Inhofe's amendment to the NDAA allows McAlester Army Ammunition Plant to offset any costs of energy exploration. By also making those funds available for base modernization, Inhofe is working not just for our nation's military, but helping to ensure the growth and stability of McAAP and its place here in Southeastern Oklahoma for years to come."
Currently, the Mineral Leasing Act prohibits military installations from receiving any revenues from mineral exploration on their land. This reduces the incentive of military installations to agree to allow mineral development on their land.
The Mineral Leasing Act governs oil and gas leasing on federal lands giving the responsibility to the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). Although the overall royalty percentages can vary, the Act disburses federal royalties from military acquired lands in the following manner: 49 percent to the state, 40 percent to the Reclamation Fund, and 11 percent to the General Fund.
The decision to allow any kind of mineral extraction or production is the decision of the DoD, and this amendment would not change that.