WYOMING – Late last week, U.S. Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland announced $31.2 million in payments in lieu of taxes – PILT – funding will be split among Wyoming’s 23 counties this year. That includes nearly a million-dollar payment to Sublette County.
According to numbers released by the Department of the Interior, Sublette County is scheduled to receive $992,450 for approximately 2,422,402 eligible acres. That acreage consists of Bureau of Land Management land (1,256,335 acres), Forest Service acreage (1,160,639) and Bureau of Reclamation land (5,428).
Sublette County’s ratio of dollars-to-acreage is the worst among those in Wyoming. For reference, Sheridan County received $1,103,816 for 438,779 acres.
Sublette County had the sixth-most eligible acres but 13 other counties in the state received more funds.
Individual county payments vary annually as a result in changes of acreage data. Those statistics are updated annually by whatever agency is managing the land. Prior-year federal revenue-sharing payments are reported annually by each state’s governor, inflationary adjustments using the Consumer Price Index and population data are compiled by the latest U.S. Census Bureau information.
“This year’s distribution of $31.2 million to 23 counties will help local governments carry out vital services, such as firefighting and police protection, construction of public schools and roads, and search-and-rescue operations,” Sec. Haaland said in a statement. “Our mission relies on partnerships with U.S. states and territories. These disbursements are a great example of our commitment to be a good neighbor to the communities we serve.”
Payments will be made annually for tax-exempt federal lands administered by different Department of the Interior agencies, including the Bureau of Land Management, National Park Service, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Bureau of Reclamation.
Those payments will also cover federal lands administered by the U.S. Forest Service, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Utah Reclamation Mitigation and Conservation Commission.
The Department of the Interior collects more than $10.3 billion in revenue annually from commercial activities on public lands, like oil and gas leasing, livestock grazing and timber harvesting. Portions of these revenues are shared with states and counties. The remaining balance is deposited in the U.S. Treasury, which then pays for a wide variety of federal activities, including the funding of the PILT payments.
Nationally, PILT totals registered $529.3 million and will be divvied among 1,900 local governments.