Obama Admin. will raise oil drilling fees by nearly $1.2B

In a preliminary report, the Obama administration said it would likely boost fees charged to drillers and oil companies under the federal energy drilling program in order to raise an estimated $1.2 billion.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) said in a response to a memo it issued in April that the money will “protect public health and the environment while encouraging safe and responsible development.”

Some environmentalists were skeptical of the numbers and called for more caution, noting that not all of the money will go to the EPA. However, EPA said it expected the majority of it to do so.

The pipeline caps were among several proposals and options analyzed in the report.

Up until now, about $3 billion has been raised from oil companies under the federal program, which officials say is necessary to support important clean air and water cleanup programs. The Obama administration announced the fee in 2010 as a way to promote more responsible oil and gas drilling.

The money has previously been used to clean up old oil and gas wells, offset some of the cost of drilling for natural gas and make payments on top of those for communities where oil and gas drilling is new or growing.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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