Policy Letter

Public Interest Groups Oppose Oil & Gas Royalties In Kind Amendment

We are writing to express our opposition to the Oil and Gas Royalties in Kind (RIK) amendment to the Energy Policy and Conservation Act. Oil companies are finally paying their fair share of royalties - payments for drilling on Indian and taxpayer-owned federal and lands - under a new rule implemented by the Interior Department starting in June 2000. The new regulations collect $72 million more owed annually for public education, the purchase of park lands, Native American tribes and the general treasury.

We are concerned that the RIK amendment would codify a vague definition of "fair market value," ignoring the progress made in the last royalty valuation fight and the evidence that strict guidance is necessary to avoid future fraud.

We are also concerned that this amendment was developed without the input or feedback of states, Indians, public interest groups and leaders in Congress who have championed full collection of oil royalties. The General Accounting Office and the Interior Department will complete assessments of the Royalty in Kind (RIK) program in 2001. Until those assessments are complete and key stakeholders are consulted through hearings and other information-gathering processes, Congress should refrain from making such substantial changes.

Ross Coen, Executive Director

Alaska Forum for Environmental Responsibility

John Richard, Executive Director

Center for the Study of Responsive Law

Clifford T. Honicker, Director

American Environmental Health

Studies Project Knoxville, Tennessee

Dr. Alyce Hill, Chair of the Board

Barbara Bode. Board Member

Kay Hollestelle, Executive Director & President

The Children's Foundation

Beth Moten, Legislative Director

American Federation of Government Employees

Gwen Lachelt, Executive Director

Citizens Oil & Gas Support Center

Durango, Colorado

Charles M. Loveless

Director of Legislation Department

American Federation of State, County

& Municipal Employees (AFSCME)

Scott Harshbarger, President

Common Cause

Steve Holmer, Campaign Coordinator

American Lands Alliance

Sarah Gorin, Chair

Equality State Policy Center

Laramie, Wyoming

Ann Mills, Vice President for Conservation

American Rivers

Courtney Cuff, Legislative Director &

Gawain Kripke, Director of Economic Campaigns

Friends of the Earth - USA

J. Terrence Brunner, Executive Director

Better Government Association

Chicago, Illinois

Robert Dewey, Vice President of

Government Relations and External Affairs

Defenders of Wildlife

Danielle Brian, Executive Director

Project On Government Oversight

Louis Clark, Executive Director

Government Accountability Project

Joan Claybrook, President

Public Citizen

Bill Hedden, Utah Conservation Director

Grand Canyon Trust

Moab, Utah

Wenonah Hauter, Director

Public Citizen Critical Mass

Energy and Environment Program

Gary Cook, Climate Coordinator


Carla Din, Project Director

Rose Foundation for Communities

& the Environment

Oakland, California

James Turner, Executive Director

HALT: Americans for Legal Reform

Skip Roberts, Legislative Director

Service Employees International Union

Alan Septoff, Reform Campaign Director

Mineral Policy Center

Ralph DeGennaro, President and CEO

Taxpayers for Common Sense

Perry Shirley, Assistant Director

Navajo Nation Minerals Department

Window Rock, Arizona

Ann Hoffman, Legislative Director

Union of Needletrades, Industrial

and Textile Employees (UNITE)