Cantwell Statement On Interior Department’s Decision to Suspend the Valuation Rule

August 7, 2017

Washington, D.C. – Today, Ranking Member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) released the following statement regarding the Interior Department’s announcement that it will repeal the Obama-era valuation rule for federal oil, gas, and coal royalties:

“The Interior Department admits it is giving away up to $750 million over a decade to private companies making profits on a public resource. Suspending this rule was not lawful in the first place, and this repeal violates Interior’s obligation to ensure a fair return to taxpayers.”

Sen. Cantwell wrote a letter to the Interior Department in March urging that they refrain from suspending the valuation rule. In the letter, Sen. Cantwell argued that suspending the rule violates the Administrative Procedure Act. 

Last week Sen. Cantwell and Rep. Grijalva (D-Ariz.) sent a letter to Sec. Zinke asking he explain how he plans to ensure a fair return to taxpayers before attempting to streamline drilling and mining on federal lands.