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BLM Distributes Pilt Monies, Earmarks One-half Million Dollars for Carbon County

The United States Bureau of Land Management has started the process of sending almost $210 million in federal payments in lieu of taxes to approximately 1,900 local governments at locations across the nation.

According to the federal agency, PILT monies specifically earmarked for Carbon County total $513,628. The revenues are being allocated for fiscal year 2002 in accordance with the Payments in Lieu of Taxes Act

PILT payments are being sent three months early to help local governments budget for fiscal years, pointed out U.S. Secretary of the Interior Gale Norton.

The BLM administers PILT payments, provided by the federal government to offset tax revenues lost because of tax-exempt federal land in local jurisdictions.

"PILT payments are essential to support vital community services - such as fire fighting, police protection, and providing health care - in rural communities across the West," said BLM Director Kathleen Clarke.

"By moving up the payments, we are providing counties with great flexibility to manage their budgets," continued the BLM director.

The U.S. Congress appropriates funds for PILT payments to eligible units of local government each year.

The BLM calculates the payments using a formula based on population and the amount of federal land in a local jurisdiction.

The payments are in addition to federal revenues transferred to local governments under other programs, such as income generated from the use of federal land for livestock grazing, timber harvests and mineral receipts.

The 2002 PILT allocations total $209,364,595, representing an increase of $10,203,715 when compared to the payments for fiscal year 2001. Differences in payments are due to the amount appropriated by Congress and changes in other federal revenues.

Since the PILT program started in 1977, the BLM has distributed more than $2.7 billion. All states except Rhode Island, with minimal federal land, are receiving payments in 2002. The District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam and Virginia Islands also receive PILT funds.

The states with local governments receiving the highest PILT payments include Utah, California, New Mexico, Arizona, Montana and Colorado.

The BLM, an agency of the U.S. Department of the Interior, manages more land at 262 million acres than any other federal agency. The majority of the land is located in 12 western states, including Alaska.

The BLM also administers 700 million acres of subsurface federal minerals at locations throughout the nation.

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