Statement on Signing the Federal Oil and Gas Royalty Management Act of 1982

January 12, 1983

Today, with great pleasure, I am signing into law H.R. 5121, the Federal Oil and Gas Royalty Management Act.

In July of 1981, Secretary Watt appointed the Commission on Fiscal Accountability of the Nation's Energy Resources chaired by David Linowes. He instructed the Commission to investigate serious allegations of theft of oil from Federal and Indian lands, to examine allegations of waste and fraud in the royalty program, and to make recommendations for improving fiscal accountability of the Nation's energy resources. That Commission presented its findings and recommendations to me in January of last year. It found that the past system of royalty management has resulted in a substantial loss of revenues to the United States Government, the States, and Indian tribes. Among its recommendations was the need for legislation to strengthen and clarify the authority of the United States to take strong action in this area.

In March of last year the administration proposed legislation to the Congress to carry out this recommendation. Senator McClure and his Energy Committee devoted every one of its business meetings from May 10 to July 30 to the consideration of the administration's proposal. I am most grateful to the Senator and his staff for their patience and hard work.

I am also grateful to our friends on the House side who also devoted much time and energy to this legislation. They met our call for quick and strong legislation with a true bipartisan commitment to enact this bill.

Passage of H.R. 5121 is a great achievement for this administration. As you all know, the royalty management system has been plagued with problems for well over 30 years. We are the first administration to acknowledge those problems and to tackle them head-on. Secretary Watt has worked hard to improve a system that provides a major source of revenues for the United States. With the authority granted to the Secretary in the new Federal Oil and Gas Royalty Management Act, I believe that we can have a strong and sound Federal royalty management program.

Note: As enacted, H.R. 5121 is Public Law 97 - 451, approved January 12.