In place of a regular legislative interim day in July, Utah's Legislature rather held appropriation subcommittee hearings throughout the day on July 26.  In an effort to give more time for study and adequate input on the State's budgetary process, legislators heard from regulatory agencies regarding the services they provide and fees they impose to cover the costs of those services.  Of interest to UPA Members was the Natural Resources, Agriculture and Environmental Quality Appropriations Subcommittee which featured presentations by DEQ, DAQ, UDOGM and SITLA. 

Each agency has different funding sources and maintains their own schedule of fees.  The majority of questions asked by legislators was whether the fees charged were adequate to cover the cost of services and about the balance between the public good, monies funding these services through the State's General Fund and maintaining a healthy and friendly business environment through competitive costs to businesses.

The presentations and/or data given by the agencies is available here:  Air Quality Deep Dive; DAQ Statutory Authority; Oil, Gas and Mining Fees; and SITLA Fees.  All of the fees noted are open to discussion and debate by the public during the regular legislative session as the appropriation subcommittees review them, take public comment and approve or modify. 

Of special note to UPA was the discussion by the subcommittee regarding the funding shortfall UDOGM has experienced over the past two years due to decreased incoming revenue from the State's Oil and  Gas Conservation Fee.  John Baza was drilled by Senator Dabakis regarding why the State's taxpayers should subsidize big oil companies' regulatory requirements through the supplemental appropriation they've received the past two years.  Other legislators, including Senator Hinkins, came to UDOGM's defense and stressed the millions the industry overpaid through the conservation fee during better years and the hundreds of millions of dollar impact the industry has on the State.  This undoubtedly will continue to be a key point of emphasis for UDOGM during the coming months.  UPA will continue our strong engagement and keep Members informed of ongoing UDOGM funding discussions as they take place.