POGO is hearing word that the Department of Interior's Minerals Management Service (MMS)—home of the ostrich school of oversight—is gutting the State and Tribal Royalty Audit Committee (STRAC). The federal government is demanding that it monopolize STRAC's agenda and pare down their four meetings a year to only once annually with MMS attendance mandatory. The federal government is charged with collecting the royalties owed for oil and gas drilling on federal land, and then a portion of those proceeds are returned to the state or tribe that owned the land.
There is a conflict between these two entities. Why? Because STRAC is made up of representatives of states and tribes that actually want to collect the money—all the money—owed to them by the oil and gas companies that drill on their land, a foreign concept at the federal MMS. MMS has repeatedly been proven to be an agency that is either unwilling to perform its mission, or simply believes the oil and gas industry's best interests are in the public interest.
So what did MMS do when the well-informed STRAC members kept pointing out to Congress what a lousy job MMS was doing? MMS retaliated. Now they can get their heads back into the sand.