As most POGO readers are probably aware, the President Obama unveiled his budget today. There is more of the good rhetoric concerning oil and gas royalty management that we've heard from Secretary Salazar, and the Department of the Interior (DOI) budget also promises to "provide a better return to taxpayers from mineral management." In order to do this, there are plans of "closing loopholes, charging appropriate fees, and reforming how royalties are set." Unfortunately, there is no mention of improving oversight or the effectiveness of royalty collections through increasing the number of auditors to oversee leases, which would be the key reform necessary for DOI to enforce both current and new regulations to provide taxpayers a better return. Hopefully we'll see that in the more detailed DOI budget.
-- Mandy Smithberger