Interior won't seek to recover billions in royalties

The Bush administration won't try to recover billions on lost royalties, a top Interior Department official said.

The American public stands to lose out on up to $10 billion in royalties for oil and gas drilling on federal land. But Johnnie M. Burton, the director of the Minerals Management Service, said energy companies don't have much incentive to renegotiate their deals.

Some companies have agreed to discuss changing their leases. But the vast majority haven't responded to a request to negotiate.

The leases have already resulted in the loss of $1.3 billion in royalties.

Get the Story:
Interior Official Says She Will Not Try to Recoup Lease Money (The New York Times 9/22)

Relevant Documents::
Devaney Testimony | Hearing Information

Related Stories:
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)