Daines Secures Reinstatement of Royalty Policy Committee

U.S. SENATE — U.S. Senator Steve Daines today secured passage of his amendment to help protect Montana coal jobs from the Obama administration’s recent moratorium on new federal coal leases and ensure that states and tribes have a significant voice in any changes to federal coal, oil, gas royalties or leasing policy. 

The Senate Committee on Appropriations today unanimously passed Daines’ amendment in the FY2017 Interior, Environment and Related Agencies Appropriations Bill which would reestablish the Royalty Policy Committee to ensure greater transparency in creating royalty and leasing policy for mineral production from federal and tribal lands.

“Those most impacted by the Obama administration’s war on energy should have a seat at the table and be heard,” Daines stated. “I’m pleased to see my colleagues support our coal communities and support critical good-paying energy jobs.”

Last month, Daines introduced the Certainty for States and Tribes Act which provides critical flexibility needed to keep Montana mines open, protect thousands of good-paying jobs and provide needed support for government and community services. The House Committee on Natural Resources’ Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources held a hearing on the companion bill introduced by Representative Ryan Zinke on June 14, 2016.

Daines is holding a public meeting on June 21, 2016 in Billings, Montana to ensure that the Department of Interior (DOI) hears the voices that will be most impacted by their review of the federal coal program.

Montanans’ voices are currently excluded from the proposed review of the moratorium on coal leasing. According to an announcement from DOI, public meetings are currently planned to be held in May and June in Casper, Wyo.; Grand Junction, Colo.; Knoxville, Tenn.; Pittsburgh, Pa.; Salt Lake City, Utah; and Seattle, Wash.   

Daines has repeatedly called on DOI Secretary Sally Jewell to have meaningful consultation with states and tribes, like the Crow tribe. Jewell recently visited Montana and failed to visit with the coal communities that will be impacted by her actions. He recently blasted her decision to exclude Montanans during the proposed review of their moratorium on coal leasing. 

The amendment is also co-sponsored by U.S. Senator Jon Tester.

The full text of Daines’ amendment is available below: 

The Secretary shall promptly reestablish the Royalty Policy Committee in accordance with the charter of the Secretary dated March 26, 2010. The Committee shall advise the Secretary of the Interior on royalty management issues and other mineral-related policies within 180 days after the issuance of any proposed regulations or policy. The Royalty Policy Committee shall meet not less than once a year and provide for robust participation of State Governors and Indian tribes, as defined in section 4 of the Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act (25 U.S.C. 450b).