Federal Leasing Policy--Is the Split Responsibility Working?

EMD-79-60: Published: Jun 4, 1979. Publicly Released: Jun 4, 1979.

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The Leasing Liaison Committee established to coordinate efforts between the Departments of Energy (DOE) and the Department of the Interior is leasing federal lands. When DOE was established, responsibilities related to the leasing of federal lands for energy resources were transferred from Interior to DOE. All authorities not specifically transferred were retained by Interior, which had sole responsibility for the issuance and supervision of federal land leases. The Leasing Liaison Committee is composed of an equal number of representatives from each department. According to the charter, the Committee is not a policymaking body, but it may address policy issues and make recommendations to the respective secretaries.

The split leasing responsibility is not working smoothly. One of the basic concepts of the split was to provide DOE with the focus for energy planning and policy making. Although not specifically required by legislation, the departments have agreed to establish production goals for each federal energy resource. These goals have become the basic area of conflict between the two with each interpreting differently how these goals are to be used. The Committee's charter gave no specific guidelines on how to resolve jurisdictional problems.

Recommendation for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed

    Comments: Please call 202/512-6100 for additional information.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Energy should issue, by January 1, 1980, final regulations defining the role, responsibilities, and interrelationship of DOE with Interior on the development and use of production goals. These regulations should: (1) define the central role of DOE in federal energy policymaking; (2) define the production goals as a primary component of federal leasing policies; (3) provide for 60-day review by Interior before publication of them; and (4) allow for public access to the documents supporting the production goals. The Secretary of the Interior should by the same date develop regulations which are consistent with DOE final regulations related to the use of production goals. Specifically, these regulations should include Interior's primary role and responsibility in federal land use management; define production goals as a primary component; provide for 60-day review of DOE goals before publication; and require Interior to indicate in writing to DOE whether or not it can meet production goals, and the rationale if these goals are not attainable.

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