Listening Lounge: House hearing on royalties
The House Natural Resources Committee held a hearing on Wednesday to discuss royalty collection at the Interior Department.

The committee heard from two witnesses with experience in Indian royalties. They were Kevin Gambrell, the former director of the Farmington Indian Minerals Office at the Interior Department, and David Lester, the executive director of the Council of Energy Resource Tribes.

Gambrell, who now works with the Indian Land Working Group, said his office has been severely weakened since it stopped reporting to a federal court about its duties to Navajo beneficiaries. He criticized a computer system operated by the Minerals Management System as inaccurate and incomplete.

Lester said the MMS has failed to live up to its trust responsibilities to tribes and Indian beneficiaries. He said the agency has limited the role of a tribal-state advisory committee on royalty collection.

The committee also heard from Bobby L. Maxwell, a former MMS auditor who said he was blocked from recovering payments for drilling on federal and Indian land. He won a jury verdict in Colorado under the False Claims Act but the Bush administration is appealing.

You can listen to audio of the hearing below. The feed suffered some dropouts throughout the broadcast, so you may notice slight gaps in the recordings.
Introductory Statements

Panel 1 - Testimony - Q&A

The Honorable C. Stephen Allred, Assistant Secretary, Department of the Interior
Mr. Mark Gaffigan, Acting Director, Natural Resources and Environment, Government Accountability Office

Panel 2 - Testimony - Q&A
Mr. Bobby Maxwell, Former Auditor, Minerals Management Service
Mr. Kevin Gambrell, Indian Land Working Group
Ms. Ryan Alexander, President, Taxpayers for Common Sense

Panel 3 - Testimony - Q&A
Mr. Dennis Roller, Royalty Audit Section Manager, North Dakota State Auditors Office
Mr. A. David Lester, Executive Director, Council of Energy Resource Tribes
Mr. Michael Geesey, Director, Wyoming Department of Audit
Prof. Pamela Bucy, Frank M. Bainbridge Professor of Law, University of Alabama School of Law

Get the Story:
Ex-Auditor Says He Was Told to Be Lax on Oil Fees (The New York Times 3/29)
pwnyt

Committee Notice:
Full Committee Oversight Hearing: “Royalties at Risk” (March 28, 2007)

Inspector General Report:
Minerals Management Service's Compliance Review Process (December 2006)

GAO Letter:
Suggested Areas for Oversight for the 110th Congress (November 17, 2006)

Inspector General Testimony:
Devaney Interior Department: A Culture of Managerial Irresponsibility and Lack of Accountability? (September 2006)

Inspector General Report:
Allegations Concerning Senior Officials of the Office of Special Trustee for American Indians (May 2005)

Relevant Links:
Government Accountability Office:
Office of Special Trustee - http://www.ost.doi.gov

Related Stories:
House hearing on royalty collection at Interior (3/28)
Oil company owes million for underpaid royalties (01/25)
Senate panel to hold oversight hearing on DOI royalties (1/16)
Interior raises royalty rate for offshore drilling (1/10)
Democrats to repeal oil and gas royalty incentives (1/4)
DOI official under investigation for ties to industry (1/2)
Editorial: Overhaul royalty collection at Interior (1/2)
Criminal inquiries into royalty collection at DOI (12/15)
Supreme Court rules for DOI in royalty collection case (12/12)
Editorial: Interior's long history of accounting failures (12/12)
Investigation finds major problems with royalties (12/7)
Fired DOI auditor recovered tribal royalties (12/4)
More oversight of oil and gas royalties sought (11/29)
GAO to investigate royalty collection at DOI (11/02)
DOI drops claim to millions in royalties from Chevron (10/31)
New Standard: Oil giant tries to cheat tribes of money (10/11)
Interior won't seek to recover billions in royalties (9/22)
Auditors say DOI suppressed royalty collection (9/21)
Editorial: 'Anything goes' at Interior Department (9/18)
Interior comes under fire for royalty giveaway (9/15)
Norton shielded Griles despite ethics probe (9/15)
House committee to consider DOI 'irresponsibility' (9/12)
MMS reduces role of tribal-state royalty panel (9/12)
DOI accused of hindering probe into oil and gas royalties (08/04)
Accounting firm defends social relations with OST (7/27)
OST contract tied to favors to top officials (7/25)
OST officials awarded $6.6M contract to friends (7/24)
Tribes, states weigh lawsuits against oil companies (5/8)
Norton denies fraud or major problem with trust (3/29)
GAO report warns of billions in lost oil, gas royalties (3/29)
Tribes, states object to Interior's lack of audits (03/01)
Pombo starts investigation of DOI royalty program (2/16)
Bush, Democrats oppose $7B royalty giveaway (2/15)
Interior to give away $7B in oil and gas royalties (2/14)
Oil companies fall behind on royalty payments (2/10)
DOI allows underpayment of natural gas royalties (01/24)
Editorial: Interior's endless charade on Indian trust (06/10)
OST fares no better under Ross Swimmer's leadership (6/7)
Bush administration won't give up fight on Cobell (03/18)
McCain weighs GAO probe of Indian trust debacle (03/10)
Norton won't testify on trust fund retaliation (2/28)
Lamberth takes action on Cobell trust lawsuit (2/24)
Bush official won't accept claims of trust mismanagement (02/17)
Swimmer admits some Navajo appraisals too low (12/13)
DOI was warned on appraisals of Navajo lands (12/6)
Lamberth critical of Norton's 'bad faith' on trust fund (10/25)
Interior denies attempt to halt trust fund payments (10/05)
Bush administration challenges trust fund ruling (09/16)
Appeals court takes on Cobell trust fund case (9/15)
Bush administration calls for end to Cobell case (04/09)
Trust fund special master alleges government fraud (04/07)
Cobell trust fund suit mediators announced (4/6)
Navajo landowners question BIA agreement with company (10/21)
Retaliation alleged in firing of trust fund manager (09/18)
Court report finds undervaluation of Navajo lands (08/21)
Navajo trust fund manager targeted in internal probe (07/15)
DOI employees falsified Navajo trust data (06/11)
Navajo leaders criticize upheaval at trust fund office (05/09)
This story is tagged under:
doi
mms
Search
Share this Story!

You are enjoying stories from the Indianz.Com Archive, a collection dating back to 2000. Some outgoing links may no longer work due to age.

All stories in the Indianz.Com Archive are available for publishing via Creative Commons License: Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0)