Wyoming Outdoor Council’s Richard Garrett speaks with the school board. Joshua Scheer photo.
(Lander, Wyo.) – Fremont County School District 1 Trustee Bruce Palmer this morning asked his fellow board members to considering lobbying for the lifting of a tax exemption on natural gas flaring.
Natural gas is often released in the production of oil wells and for safety purposes, oil companies often burn off the gas in a process called flaring. This burnt-off commodity currently goes untaxed, Palmer said, based on an exemption in Wyoming tax laws.
Palmer said he didn’t think this would be something that could be addressed in this year’s legislative session, but he knows that at least the Sheridan school board has discussed the matter as well. His thinking is that the taxation and royalties from the natural gas on school trust land would benefit the districts.
The Wyoming Outdoor Council’s Richard Garrett and Amber Wilson spoke with the board. “I’d urge you to give careful consideration to this,” Garrett said. The pair provided the board with materials about the practice. Wilson said North Dakota has acknowledge the need to reduce flaring, but nothing as been put in place. They said returning the tax on flaring use could incentivize the production of natural gas plants or pipelines at oil production sites to make use of the natural gas that they said is enough to fuel thousands of homes.
Trustee Brooke Sutton said she didn’t have a problem with the idea. Chairman Brett Berg said he thought the amount of gas that is flared is “minimal.”
The board took no formal action on whether or not support such state action.