U.S. Department of the Interior Press Release, October 4, 2017
Today, U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke and Counselor to the Secretary for Energy Policy Vincent DeVito welcomed new members of the Royalty Policy Committee, which was re-chartered on March 29 by the Secretary after an 8 year absence.
After introductions by the Secretary, new members were briefed on a variety of topics from their ethical responsibilities as appointees under the Federal Advisory Committee Act, to a detailed account of economic considerations the Department uses when offering public lands for lease.
The Committee was re-chartered in an effort to provide a continuous forum for interested stakeholders to debate and deliberate recommendations to the Secretary on ensuring the public receives full value of natural resources produced on federal and Indian lands, including renewable energy sources. The Committee may also advise on the potential impacts of proposed policies and regulations related to revenue collection, including whether a need exists for regulatory reform.
Topics presented at the meeting ranged from ways to promote the expansion of American energy development to providing greater input for local communities affected by leasing activities, to reassessing the economic models used by the Department.
Another topic discussed was valuation of oil, gas and coal for royalty purposes. Long-standing regulations governing valuation were amended by the Consolidated Federal Oil and Gas and Federal and Indian Coal Valuation Reform Rule, which was to take effect on January 1, 2017, but was stayed, then repealed, after discovery of certain difficulties in implementation. The Committee has been tasked with determining the need for regulatory change that is consistent with this administration’s goals of increasing domestic energy production and revenues while reducing regulatory burdens.
After the members were briefed on these issues, three subcommittees were formed: the Subcommittee on Fair Return and Revenue, which will review fair market return from resources produced on public lands, the Subcommittee on Planning, Analysis, and Competitiveness, which will assess the economic modeling used by the Department, present and future royalty rates, and ways to increase revenues and competition; and the Subcommittee on Indian Affairs, which will address issues specific to Tribal lands and trust.
The Committee is composed of 28 state, Tribal, and other stakeholder representatives. This is the first time the Committee has featured a member from the renewable energy sector. The Chairman is Vincent DeVito, Counselor to the Secretary for Energy Policy, and the Executive Director is James Schindler.