Statement of the Honorable Carolyn B. Maloney (D-NY) On the Oil-Valuation Deal

Nov 16, 1999
Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- "According to published reports, an agreement has been reached under which the Interior Department's new oil-valuation rules will go into effect March 15th. If these reports are accurate, this deal represents a tremendous victory for the American taxpayer. This agreement will end the sweetheart deal which lets oil companies shortchange American schoolchildren, states, and Indian tribes of millions of dollars in royalty payments each year. This agreement shows that the days of big oil's dominance in the U.S. Capitol are coming to a long overdue end," Maloney stated.

Congresswoman Maloney has led efforts to force big oil companies to pay royalties based on the fair market value of the oil they produce. At her urging, the House Subcommittee on Government Management, Information and Technology has held two hearings to investigate the fraudulent practices of big oil companies which deliberately underpay the royalties they owe. Earlier this year, she issued a report, based on internal company documents, which documented how big oil companies had deliberately underpaid the royalties they owed the American taxpayer.

In the wake of serious allegations about deliberate underpayment of royalties, the Interior Department has attempted to rewrite the oil-valuation rules to require big oil companies to pay royalties based on the fair market value of the oil they produce. On three separate occasions, oil-industry supporters in Congress have attached riders to appropriations measures specifically blocking the new rule. Earlier this year, the Senate adopted, by a vote of 51-47, an amendments offered by Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison to this year's Interior Appropriations Bill that would have blocked the rule for another year. In Conference Committee, this language was replaced with a provision that would have blocked the new rules until the General Accounting Office (GAO) issued a report on the rulemaking process. According to published reports, today's deal will permit the new rule to be implemented in March of 2000.