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Project on Government Oversight




POGO Slams Bush Administration for Reopening Oil Rule

March 5, 2003 


In a statement to be issued tomorrow, Danielle Brian, Executive Director of the Project On Government Oversight, criticizes the Interior Department for reopening a controversial regulation determining how much oil companies pay for drilling oil from federal and Indian lands. According to Ms. Brian, "The rule reopening is nothing more than a sop to the oil industry and an invitation to complain about the millions of dollars oil companies have been forced to pony up under a fair system." Click here to go to Ms. Brian's statement.

The rule has forced the oil industry to pay roughly $70 million more annually to the federal government since it was implemented in 2000 after a bruising Congressional battle. The Interior Department's Minerals Management Service holds a public workshop on March 6th to discuss revisions of the rule (see press release announcing workshop at

For more information about the current oil royalty controversy, see POGO's recent alert "GAO: Interior Can't Tell Whether It is Losing Taxpayer Money" .

Under the direction of Ms. Brian, POGO initiated a series of investigations in 1993 into oil royalty fraud on public lands. Using the Freedom of Information Act, POGO exposed how the Interior Department was allowing oil companies to cheat on their payments for drilling oil from federal and Indian lands. POGO's investigations helped lead to the new oil regulations and to litigation that resulted in more than $400 million in settlements with the Justice Department for past underpayments.

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.

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