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.

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