The Utah Clean Infrastructure Coalition (We are in this! ) released a report on August 17th showing that Utah’s Permanent Community Impact Fund Board has funneled more than $109 million in public money to projects that promote or expand fossil fuel extraction, in violation of the federal Mineral Leasing Act.
The report also documents that basic infrastructure projects in rural communities are going unfunded while Utah leaders use federal lease revenues and royalties to help the fossil fuel industry, including a proposed oil railway and oil refinery.
Oil, gas, and coal companies pay the federal government for the right to develop federally owned minerals on public lands and pay royalties for any minerals they extract.
Congress intended this money to be used to help rural communities experiencing rapid growth and infrastructure challenges.
Utah is responsible for allocating the money to affected communities. A large portion is managed by the governor-appointed Permanent Community Impact Fund Board (CIB), which is composed of six locally elected officials and five representatives of relevant state agencies.
A 2020 report from Utah’s Office of the Legislative Auditor General raised serious concerns about the Community Impact Board, including improper funding of economic development projects.
Small towns, cities, and special improvement districts in Utah have requested funding for projects that have not yet been funded