A rugged, whitewater river flowing northward through deep canyons, the New River is among the oldest rivers on the continent. New River Gorge National River in West Virginia encompasses over 70,000 acres of land along the New River, is rich in cultural and natural history, and offers an abundance of scenic and recreational opportunities.
Big Southern Butte is one of two domes rising from a sea of basalt near the center of the eastern Snake River Plain in Idaho. The butte is one of the largest volcanic domes in the world, but at 300,000 years old it is also one of the youngest. Hikers who trek to the 7,550-foot high summit are rewarded with spectacular panoramic views. Photo by Devin Englestead, BLM Upper Snake Wildlife Biologist.
First light at Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge in New Mexico. Established in November 22, 1939, the refuge has provided a critical stopover and wintering spot for thousands of sandhill cranes, geese and other waterfowl for 75 years. Bosque del Apache's sandhill crane population has multiplied from 18 birds in the 1840s to more than 20,000 birds today. Photo by Kim Hang Dessoliers (www.sharetheexperience.org).
Interior Announces Improved Valuation Method for Oil Produced on American Indian Lands
Office of the Secretary
Comment Sought on Rule that Would Improve Fairness, Clarity for Royalties to Indian Country
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Following President Obama's historic visit to Indian Country last week where he underscored his commitment to work with tribal leaders to build strong, resilient economies, Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell announced today that the Department is proposing a set of common sense regulations for valuing oil produced on American Indian leases. It is expected that these regulations will offer greater simplicity, certainty and clarity in Indian oil valuation and could boost Indian Country royalties by $20 million annually.
“Ensuring that tribal communities receive their fair share of oil and gas revenues for energy produced on their own lands is consistent with our trust responsibility to tribes,” said Secretary Sally Jewell, who chairs the White House Council on Native American Affairs. “Reflecting the President's strong commitment to tribal sovereignty and self-governance, these updated regulations we're announcing today will not only help protect and fairly value Indian energy assets but encourage exploration and development and ensure consistency with current federal oil and gas valuation rules.”
In formulating a set of consistent and clear regulations for Indian oil valuation, the Department's Office of Natural Resource Revenue (ONRR) conducted numerous consultation meetings with Tribal representatives and Indian mineral landowners to solicit additional feedback from affected American Indian communities and to meet the Secretary's Indian trust requirements.
The current valuation rule has been in place since 1988, and many changes have occurred in the oil market since then. A Negotiated Rulemaking Committee, authorized and established under the Federal Advisory Committee Act, was formed in late 2011 and charged with bringing clarity and consistency to oil valuation regulations governing production on American Indian lands. The committee included representatives from American Indian Tribes, Individual Indian Mineral Owner Associations, the oil and gas industry, ONRR and the Bureau of Indian Affairs.
The Negotiated Rulemaking Committee met nine times through 2012 and 2013, reaching agreement on a proposal to base royalties on the higher of gross proceeds or an index-based formula that captures a unique provision of Indian lease terms referred to as a ‘major portion price.' Major portion refers to the highest price paid for the oil produced from a field or area. ONRR estimates that Indian lessors will benefit by an additional $20 million annually from the new valuation method.
It will be published in the Federal Register on Thursday, June 19 and accessible via www.regulations.gov. Public comments on the new rule will be accepted for 60 days.
All comments will be carefully considered before the final rule is published. Comments may be filed electronically, via www.regulations.gov, or mailed to: Armand South all, Regulatory Specialist, ONRR, P.O. Box 25165, and MS 61030A, Denver, Colo. 80225-0165.
Comments may also be delivered by hand, or through an overnight courier service, to the Office of Natural Resources Revenue, Building 85, Room A-614, Denver Federal Center, West 6th Avenue and Kipling Street, Denver, Colo. 80225.