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Congressman Mike Thompson

Representing the 5th District of CALIFORNIA


Feb 18, 2015
Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Rep. Mike Thompson (D-CA) today led a bipartisan coalition of legislators in calling on President Obama to protect local clean energy royalties from harmful budget cuts. In a letter to the president, Thompson and the lawmakers expressed their disappointment that geothermal royalty payments to counties were eliminated in the President’s recently released Fiscal Year (FY) 2016 budget. Because of the high burdens that geothermal production places on the counties where it is developed, counties currently share in the revenue of the federal receipts.

“If a county invests in developing geothermal energy, it deserves its fair share of returns on that investment,” said Thompson. “Robbing counties of this revenue is fiscally irresponsible and will do nothing to reduce our deficit. While the federal government will see no significant gain, our counties will be forced to go into deeper debt in order to pay for road repairs, law enforcement, and public safety. I will work with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to make sure any budget passed by Congress doesn’t include these short-sighted geothermal cuts.”

Geothermal revenue sharing was first started through the bipartisan Energy Policy Act of 2005. Congress decided that because of the high burdens geothermal production places on the counties where it is developed, the counties should share in the revenue.

Counties use geothermal revenues to pay for governmental services, such as road maintenance, public safety and law enforcement, and conservation easements. Many of the counties receiving revenue from geothermal receipts are small, rural counties facing uncertain budget situations. The loss of such revenue for these counties could result in the elimination or reduction of essential services.

Revenue sharing has also made counties vested partners in the continued development of geothermal energy – a clean, renewable, and domestic energy source that provides jobs in rural areas.

Ending this sharing would negatively impact counties while having no meaningful deficit reduction impact.  Over a ten year period, revenue sharing accounts for less than one tenth of one percent of the federal debt.

In Fiscal Year 2014, Lake County received more than $959,000 in geothermal royalties

In Fiscal Year 2014, Sonoma County received more than $1,315,000 in geothermal royalties.


Congressman Mike Thompson is proud to represent California’s 5th Congressional District, which includes all or part of Contra Costa, Lake, Napa, Solano and Sonoma Counties.  He is a senior member of the House Ways and Means Committee and the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. Rep. Thompson is also a member of the fiscally conservative Blue Dog Coalition and chairs the bipartisan, bicameral Congressional Wine Caucus.

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