Radio Actuality

Secretary Salazar Ends Controversial Royalty in Kind Program


In testimony to the House Natural Resources Committee Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar announced he is reforming and restructuring the Department’s management of U.S. energy resources, starting with the termination of the Minerals Management Service’s (MMS) controversial Royalty in Kind program that accepts oil and natural gas from producers in lieu of cash royalties.  Salazar also described administrative actions he is taking to develop a comprehensive energy strategy on U.S. public lands and the Outer Continental Shelf.

Topic / Summary / Transcript
Topic: Secretary Salazar tells the House Natural Resources Committee that he is ending the Royalty in Kind program.
“My view of the Royalty in Kind program is that we should end it; and because it is created through administrative order and the authority which I have as Secretary, I do intend to terminate the Royalty in Kind program.  And as I terminate the Royalty in Kind program, my comment to the members of this committee, it to ask you to continue to work with us as we move forward with the broader issue. Because the Royalty in Kind program and its termination is only one thing that we have to do with respect to how address the whole issue of royalties from oil and gas production on our public lands.  There are many other issues out there, including royalty simplification.  How do we make the collection of royalties more transparent and easier to do and less subject to the kinds of issues that both the OIG and the General Accounting Office have raised.”

Topic: Secretary Salazar cites forward movement in the development of renewable energy.
“We are fast-tracking solar, wind and geo-thermal energy projects throughout the country.  We have set aside a thousand square miles for intensive study for solar energy production in states in the western part of America.  We have over 20 applications for large-scale solar and wind and geo-thermal commercial facilities that we are processing and have put on a fast-track and hope to have those permitted by the end of next year.  Our expectation is that those renewable clean energy projects will create as many as 50,000 jobs here in the United States of America.  And so we are not waiting.  We have moved forward with all our power to develop the new energy frontier for the United States of America.

Topic: Secretary Salazar tells the committee that responsible development of oil and gas is an important part of the President's comprehensive energy plan.
“The facts will demonstrate that we have continued to lease for oil and gas development both in the Outer Continental Shelf as well as in the onshore.  In the onshore we have from up to this point in time, from January until now, conducted 21 lease sales, we have offered 2.4 million acres of land for oil and gas exploration and development just on the onshore alone.  In the offshore we have conducted two lease sales, the Gulf of Mexico lease sale 208 and lease sale 210.  And there we have offered 52 million acres of area in Outer Continental Shelf for oil and gas exploration and production.  I think what this should underscore to the members of the committee is that President Obama and his administration are committed to a comprehensive energy plan.  We know that we will grasp the future of renewable energy but we also recognize that the development of our oil and gas resources, particularly natural gas, are a very important part of us pulling together a comprehensive energy plan.”