WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senator Steve Daines has called on the Department of Interior to allow the state of Montana, Montana tribes, union members and business owners more time to provide input on the Office of Natural Resource Revenue’s proposed rule to reform royalty valuation for coal, oil and gas.
Daines led more than a dozen Senate and House members in calling on Interior Secretary Sally Jewell to extend the comment deadline, as the proposed rule could have serious adverse impacts on domestic energy production and create uncertainty in the value of coal royalties that Montana and other states depend upon.
“The complexity of this rule requires additional time for parties to analyze the proposed changes and provide informed comments necessary to developing a sensible policy,” Daines stated. “Montana tribes and communities across our state depend on the sale of federal coal, oil and gas within their borders for education, infrastructure and other public services. It’s important that they have the proper time to review any rule that will have a drastic impact on Montana’s and our tribes’ economies.”
The proposed rule has raised concerns among Montana stakeholders, including Cloud Peak Energy, which mines in Montana’s Powder River Basin.
“This proposed rule change appears to be a continuation of the Administration’s onslaught on the coal industry and threatens the reliable and affordable energy it provides,” stated Cloud Peak CEO Colin Marshall. “We are deeply concerned that despite our proven record of complying with state and federal regulations, and substantial royalty payments over many years, the ONRR is acting, not to improve efficiency and increase revenues as they suggest, but to reduce overall federal coal production.”
Daines’ letter was also signed by Senators John Barrasso (R-WY), Orrin Hatch (R-UT), Mike Enzi (WY), Cory Gardner (R-CO), Jim Risch (R-ID), Jeff Flake (R-AZ), Mike Lee (R-UT) and Representatives Cynthia Lummis (R-WY), Ryan Zinke (R-MT), Chris Stewart (R-UT), Jason Chaffetz (R-UT), Scott Tipton (R-CO), Doug Lamborn (R-CO), Paul Gosar (R-AZ).
Daines’ full letter to Secretary Jewell is available HERE.