The Wyoming Oil and Gas Conservation Commission voted at a special meeting Tuesday to reduce to zero the conservation taxes assessed on oil and gas companies due to the economic hardships caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a news release.

"Reducing the conservation tax and providing some reprieve are necessary steps that the WOGCC Commissioners have approved to help in this difficult business environment," Commission Supervisor Mark Watson said in the news release.

The tax is used solely to fund the WOGCC’s budget, and does not have an impact on the state budget, Watson said.

The current tax amounts to .0005 -- five-tenths of a mill -- or about $5 for every $10,000 on the fair market cash value of all oil and gas production and transportation, commission spokeswoman Kimberly Mazza said.

The commission's budget from July through June 2022 was approved by the Legislature's Joint Appropriations Committee, Mazza said.

Besides the conservation tax, the Wyoming Oil and Gas Conservation Commission receives fees such as such as filing fees for "approval for permit to drill" filing fees to cover its operational costs, she said.

"The change in the conservation tax, which is only for six months, will not require the WOGCC to reduce our workforce or services," Mazza said.

The Wyoming Conservation Act in 1959 incorporated the tax at .0002 of a mill. As oil and gas prices have risen and fallen and the needs of the WOGCC have changed, the tax has been adjusted with the highest amount being set at .0008 in 2002 and the lowest at .0001 in 1979, 1985, and 2006.

Since 2016, the tax has been .0005.

The minutes from the special meeting are available and can be found on the WOGCC website.

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