Skip to Main Content
Project on Government Oversight




Statement of POGO Executive Director Danielle Brian on finalization of the Department of Interior's Oil Valuation Rule

March 14, 2000 


"The final oil rule is a major step forward, and is long overdue in restoring what rightfully belongs to the American people. After decades of scamming the system and the ugly tactics they used in the congressional battle, Big Oil will at last pay a fairer share for drilling oil on public lands."

Background: On March 15, 2000 the Department of Interior's final oil valuation rule will be published in the Federal Register.

The new rule will force major oil companies to pay $67.3 million more annually that they owe to the federal government for drilling oil from federal and Indian lands. From May 1998 to March 15, 2000, oil-accommodating Senators had enabled the oil companies to cheat the government of these payments by attaching riders and amendments to budget bills preventing Interior from implementing the rule.

Under pending False Claims Act litigation, major oil companies have made settlements with the Justice Department for more than $300 million in past royalty under payments committed under old regulations. Several more oil companies have yet to settle in the case which is scheduled to go to trial in September, 2000. 

Founded in 1981, the Project On Government Oversight (POGO) is a nonpartisan independent watchdog that champions good government reforms. POGO's investigations into corruption, misconduct, and conflicts of interest achieve a more effective, accountable, open, and ethical federal government.

# # #