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Policy Integrity Article Cited in Suit Against Interior’s Royalty Policy Committee

A group of NGOS, led by the Western Organization of Resource Councils, recently filed a complaint in the District of Montana Court regarding Secretary of the Interior Zinke’s Royalty Policy Committee (RPC). The complaint argues that though the RPC should be acting transparently on behalf of American taxpayers, it is in fact working in secret to advance the interest of extractive industries. In the complaint, the petitioners cite a recent Harvard Environmental Law Review article by Policy Director, Jayni Foley Hein, Federal Lands and Fossil Fuels: Maximizing Social Welfare in Federal Energy Leasing, to help make their case.

Hein’s recent op-ed, Pushing for the Public Interest, makes similar points to those raised in the District of Montana complaint. Namely, that the RPC should advocate for “fair market value” for publicly owned resources, like mineral deposits on federal land, but is instead a fossil fuel executive-guided group that “is myopically focused on advancing the interests of fossil fuel companies at the expense of the public and our federal natural resources.” Hein also recently delivered testimony in an RPC public hearing based on this op-ed and previously submitted written comments to the RPC on issues including royalty rates for offshore drilling.