Activities managed by the Interior Department resulted in a $7.9 billion contribution to Colorado's gross domestic product during the 2018 federal fiscal year, more than three-quarters of that related to energy and mineral development.
The total economic output in the state resulting from those activities, which accounts for production of goods and services supported by the activities, was $12.3 billion during fiscal year 2018, fourth-highest nationally, according to an Interior Department report released Tuesday.
Both the state GDP and economic output numbers associated with Interior Department activities are up considerably over the 2017 fiscal year, when they were estimated to be $5.6 billion and $9.5 billion respectively. Driving that growth was growth related to the energy/minerals sector.
Interior estimates that the sector accounted for about $6 billion of GDP related to the department in Colorado during fiscal year 2018 and about $9 billion in total economic output. These numbers are up from about $4 billion and $6.5 billion respectively for fiscal year 2017.
Recreation was the next-biggest economic driver related to Interior-managed activities in Colorado during the 2018 fiscal year. It accounted for $1.2 billion in GDP and $2 billion in total economic output.
The Interior Department estimates that the activities it manages supported about 66,000 jobs last year in Colorado, 38,779 of them related to energy/minerals development and 17,374 related to recreation.
Payroll, major grants and payments, and grazing/timber were other economic contributors to the state associated with Interior-managed activities in the state, Interior says.
Nationally, Interior said activities covering conventional and renewable energy, recreation, nonfuel minerals, irrigation and conservation resulted in $315 billion in economic output and supported 1.8 million jobs. That economic output is up from an estimated $292 billion in fiscal year 2017.
The interior Department says national parks, wildlife refuges and monuments, along with other Interior-managed public lands, hosted an estimated 486 million recreational visits in FY 2018, supporting an estimated $58 billion in economic output.
The latest National Park Service estimate is that 375,000 annual visitors at Colorado National Monument in the 2018 calendar year resulted in $28.9 million in economic output in local communities.
The federal fiscal year 2018 ended Sept. 30, 2018. The Interior Department says that nationally, oil, gas and coal produced from Interior lands and waters supported an estimated $151 billion in economic output during that fiscal year. It says average oil prices were higher for that fiscal year compared to the previous one, while average natural gas prices were slightly lower.
Interior Office of Natural Resources Revenue data shows that oil production on federal land in Colorado during the 2018 calendar year topped 6.5 million barrels, up from 5.2 million the previous year. But that remains just a small sliver of overall oil production in the state. Much of the federal-land drilling in the state occurs in northwest Colorado, where drilling has focused more on natural gas than oil production.
Gas production on federal land in Colorado fell slightly in 2018, to about 645 billion cubic feet, according to Interior data. But drilling began on 225 wells on federal land in the state in FY 2018, up considerably from 148 the previous year, Bureau of Land Management figures show.
Colorado coal production on federal land in the 2018 calendar year fell slightly, to 5.4 million tons.
The Office of Natural Resources Revenue says it disbursed $112.5 million in revenue from natural resource extraction to Colorado in the 2018 fiscal year, up from $92 million the previous year.
The latest estimated economic output of energy and mineral development on federal lands and mineral estate in Colorado remains considerably lower than the $12.2 billion estimate by Interior for the 2011 fiscal year, before subsequent slowdowns in drilling and coal mining.