Environment & Science Public Affairs

The Center for Western Priorities Releases a Statement as a Response to the Interior Proposal to Reopen Royalty Loopholes for Oil and Gas Companies

The Center for Western Priorities believes the loopholes proposed by the Trump administration is simply a way to skirt taxpayers for royalties owed at the request of former oil lobbyist Secretary Bernhardt. 

The Center for Western Priorities, a conservation policy, and advocacy organization focused on land and energy issues across the American West, released a forceful statement today in response to a recent proposal by Interior Department’s Office of Natural Resources Revenue.


Friday, August 7, 2020, the Interior Department’s Office of Natural Resources Revenue proposed a new valuation and civil penalty reform rule. Previously, the Trump administration had rescinded an Obama-era ONRR valuation rule, an action that was subsequently struck down in court.

The Center for Western Priorities released the following statement from Policy Director Jesse Prentice-Dunn:

“This is yet another attempt by the Trump administration to reopen loopholes that would allow oil and gas companies to skirt royalty payments owed to taxpayers. This is a proposal asked for by the oil and gas industry and delivered by former oil lobbyist Secretary Bernhardt.

“The winners and losers from this proposal are very clear—oil and gas companies will pocket money that is owed to taxpayers for drilling publicly-owned resources.

“When it comes to delivering for his former oil industry clients, Secretary Bernhardt’s motto is clearly, ‘If at first you don’t succeed, try again.’”


In 2019, the American Petroleum Institute wrote senior Interior Department officials to explicitly ask that they draft a new ONRR valuation rule.

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