Ranking Member Grijalva, Rep. Lowenthal Blast Unbalanced Royalty Committee Membership Dominated by Fossil Fuel Interests

Washington, D.C. – House Natural Resources Committee Ranking Member Raúl M. Grijalva (D-Ariz.) and Energy and Mineral Resources Subcommittee Ranking Member Alan S. Lowenthal (D-Calif.) today sent a letter to Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke decrying his appointment of a partisan, industry-dominated Royalty Policy Committee (RPC) to make recommendations on federal oil and gas royalty policy. No states with Democratic governors were given primary representation on the new panel, and no public interest groups are represented.

The letter, available at http://bit.ly/2j3b0Q9, highlights the fact that the energy industry has five primary members and six alternates.

“Secretary Zinke talks a big game about increasing revenues, trust, and transparency, but his actions speak much louder and tell a very different story,” Grijalva said. “Handing over more than eighty million dollars to the oil and gas industry through canceled regulations and making sure it dominates this committee is like letting the fox not just guard but design the henhouse.”

“Nearly every move on energy that this administration has made could have come right out of the executive boardrooms of the oil and gas industry, and the make-up of this committee is no exception,” Rep. Lowenthal said. “We need more reforms to make federal oil and gas leasing more accountable to the American people, not more giveaways for oil tycoons.” 

The RPC is an independent advisory board tasked with making recommendations for improving federal mineral revenue collection. The last action of the RPC was a report in 2007 that offered more than 100 recommendations. The Obama administration finalized a rule in 2016 to address many of those recommendations, but that rule–estimated to bring in as much as $75 million in new royalties a year–was blocked by the Trump administration in February and was formally repealed as of this morning.

Press Contact

Media Contact: Adam Sarvana

(202) 225-6065 or (202) 578-6626 mobile