Committee formed to advise Interior Secretary on royalty policy

By Patrick C. Miller | September 05, 2017

Thirty-eight primary and alternate members have been appointed to the U.S. Department of Interior’s Royalty Policy Committee that advices Secretary of Interior Ryan Zinke on policies and strategies to improve management of the federal and American Indian mineral revenue program.

Zinke signed a charter in March establishing the Royalty Policy Committee to review multi-billion dollar revenues collected from oil and gas drilling, coal mining and renewable energy production on federal lands and offshore areas. It also provides advice to the secretary on the fair market value of and collection of revenues from federal and Indian mineral and energy leases.

Zinke appointed 20 primary and 18 alternate members to the committee. States with primary members are Wyoming, North Dakota, Alaska, Texas, Alabama and Utah. Montana and New Mexico have alternate members. Other primary members include four tribes, six energy and minerals stakeholders and four academic and public interest groups.

"Working closely with the committee, we will come up with solutions for modernizing the management of public and American Indian assets, while building greater trust and transparency in how we value our nation's public mineral resources,” Zinke said. “It's important that the taxpayers and tribes get the full and fair value of traditional and renewable energy produced on public lands and offshore areas."

The committee can also advise Zinke on the potential impacts of proposed policies and regulations related to revenue collection from energy and mineral development on public lands, including whether there’s a need for regulatory reform.

The Royalty Policy Committee—which has up to 28 members—is intended to reflect diverse perspectives of a wide-range of stakeholders, including representatives of western states and American Indian tribes that produce energy, energy stakeholders, academic groups and the general public, as well as Interior officials. Non-federal members will serve three-year terms.

North Dakota’s primary member, Lt. Gov. Brent Sanford, said the state understands how the development of resources on federal and tribal lands compares to development on private lands.

“More rules and longer timelines don’t necessarily equate to better stewardship, let alone revenue realization,” he said. “We believe this committee can provide valuable insight to help modernize our public resources management with a common-sense approach.”

The committee’s first meeting will be Oct. 4. The agenda and meeting materials will be posted on the committee website at www.doi.gov/rpc. The meeting is open to members of the public, who may attend in person or view the documents and presentations under discussion via WebEx. The public will be invited to make statements during the meeting and file written statements with the committee for consideration.