|Emery County Commissioner Drew Sitterud seems happy to pick up a check for Emery County for nearly $2 million from Kevin Carter, SITLA director.|
During Sen. Bennett's Rural Business Conference conducted at the Carbon County Event's Center several Utah counties received a past due payment from the land exchange distribution account. The
funds were distributed by Kevin Carter of the School and Institutional Trust Lands Administration for mineral revenues coming from SITLA. The payments were delivered by hand to: Carbon County - $2,096,614; Emery County - $1,980,520; Kane County - $690,934; Garfield County - $463,724; Sevier County - $411,255; San Juan County -$218,535; Cache County - $91,122; Wayne County - $88,594; Millard County - $68,337; Juab County - 43,480; and Grand County 31,885.
Receiving on behalf of Carbon County was commissioner Bill Krompel, who clarified the point that this payment would not effect the county's payment in lieu of taxes or PILT. Emery County Commissioner Drew Sitterud was on hand to pick up Emery County's check.
"From now on you will receive your money through the mail or electronically," said Carter. "We won't be tracking you down to deliver the checks by hand but we felt it was important to deliver this years payment by hand here at the conference."
The distribution account was created by the Utah legislature in 2007 to redistribute that part of the mineral lease account that come from state lands acquired from the federal government through federally-legislated land exchanges.
The figures mentioned above represent one half year's earnings for each county.
According to SITLA, when Utah traded out of the Grand Staircase/Escalante National Monument it acquired federal lands with oil, gas and coal resources. At the time of the exchange, federal law provided that 40 percent of mineral revenue from exchange lands would be shared with Utah.
To continue this flow of funds, SITLA agreed to direct half of mineral revenues from exchange lands to the state mineral lease account.
According to Carter, the intent of the exchange agreement was for mineral revenue from exchange lands to flow through the mineral lease account to counties where the mineral were produced. The legislature, however, reallocated portions of these revenues in 1999 to other funds including the Permanent Community Impact Board.
Governor Huntsman's natural resources extraction impact working group recognized that it is legal to send these funds directly to county government, which is not permissible with mineral lease revenues coming from federal lands and recommended the creation of the account to distribute the revenue.
The account distributions allow local governments to decide how best to mitigate adverse impacts attributable to mineral development on exchange lands, without the need for routing the funds through the mineral lease account or other entities.
Furthermore the distribution account representatives sends money back to the counties of extraction to mitigate impacts and sends money to counties which give up trustlands in land exchanges and thereby may lose the opportunity for economic development from said lands.
In Utah, 27 counties receive direct distributions of funds for these purposes.
The 2007 legislature failed through a clerical error to appropriate funds for full distributions of all funds collected by LEDA. The 2008 legislature authorized a supplemental appropriations for all amounts collected in the fiscal year 2008 and fully authorized distributions for fiscal year 2009, according to SITLA.
"The current checks represent slightly more than two quarters of productions. Future distributions will be made quarterly," said Carter.