I'll be away for the remainder of the week, but will be back on the air THIS SUNDAY, from 5-7 PM on WCTC.
WE ARE NOW STREAMING.
Monday, May 08, 2006
Blah blah blah blah, and blah blah blahblah blah blah:
As soaring prices prompt huge increases in gas and oil drilling on public land, an ad hoc posse of state governments, Indian tribes and individual "bounty hunters" is charging that big energy companies are shortchanging taxpayers by billions of dollars.Blahblaaaaah blah!!! Blah, blah blah blaahblaahblah, blah blah blah. Blah blah blah blahhaaaablah blah.
They say drilling companies and pipeline operators are understating the amount and the quality of the natural gas they pump on public land, and are paying far less in royalties than required by law.
State and tribal governments rely on Washington -- specifically, the Minerals Management Service in the Department of the Interior -- to determine what royalties are owed and to collect the money. States and tribes then receive their shares from the federal government.
Two organizations -- the Council of Energy Resource Tribes, representing 57 tribes in the nation and Canada, and the State and Tribal Royalty Audit Committee, representing 11 state governments and eight tribes, mainly in the West -- are pressuring the Minerals Management Service and the gas companies for stricter accounting and higher royalty payments.
"With the current operation in Washington, you just get the feeling that the companies can report any production number they want to, and the government is not going to check," said Dennis Roller, an auditor with the state of North Dakota who serves as vice chairman of the royalty audit committee.
"And, of course, the result is that taxpayers aren't getting paid for the gas that they own," he said. "We have asked them many times to do the auditing they are supposed to do. But they just stonewall."
Posted by weinish at 12:32 PM