Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke. Photo: U.S. DOI
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Secretary Zinke appoints tribal representatives to committee for royalty policy





The Royalty Policy Committee is once again active at the Department of the Interior.

Secretary Ryan Zinke revived the committee after joining the Trump administration in March. He said its members will help guide decisions affecting mineral policies on Indian and federal lands.

"Working closely with the committee, we will come up with solutions for modernizing the management of public and American Indian assets, while building greater trust and transparency in how we value our nation's public mineral resources,” Zinke said in a press release on Friday. “It's important that the taxpayers and tribes get the full and fair value of traditional and renewable energy produced on public lands and offshore areas."

Zinke appointed four tribal representatives to the committee, along with four alternates. They follow:
Primary Members Alternate Members
Russell Begaye, Navajo Nation Bidtah Becker, Navajo Nation
Christopher Adam Red, Southern Ute Indian Tribe Leslie Shakespeare, Eastern Shoshone Tribe
Charles Robertson, Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma Neal McCaleb, Chickasaw Nation
Everett Waller, Osage Nation Minerals Council Harry Barnes, Blackfeet Nation

In addition to the tribal members, the committee includes six representatives of states governments. Another six represent the mineral and energy industries while four others come from academic and public interest groups.

On the federal side, the Bureau of Indian Affairs is represented by both the Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs and the director of the BIA. Both positions are currently being held by "acting" or temporary officials because President Donald Trump has not nominated or hired permanent leaders.

The committee's first meeting takes place October 4 in Washington, D.C. The meeting is open to the public and the department will provide a web and teleconference broadcast for those not able to make it in person.

The committee was previously known as the State and Tribal Royalty Audit Committee and tribes viewed it as another way to offer input and engage in oversight of decisions affecting their trust assets. In some cases, tribes were able to address underpayment issues on their lands because they had access to federal reports and audits.

Federal Register Notice:
Royalty Policy Committee; Public Meeting (September 1, 2017)

Related Stories:
Secretary Zinke still soliciting nominations for royalty committee (June 1, 2017)
Secretary Zinke seeks tribal representatives for royalty committee (March 31, 2017)