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Highlights

In fiscal 2008, the Department of the Interior (Interior) collected over $22 billion in royalties and other fees related to oil and gas. Interior's Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and Minerals Management Service (MMS) manage federal onshore and offshore oil and gas leases, respectively. Acquiring a federal lease gives the lessee the rights to explore for and develop the oil and gas resources under the lease, including drilling wells and building pipelines that may lead to oil and gas production. This statement focuses on findings from a number of recent GAO reports on federal oil and gas management. GAO has made numerous recommendations to Interior, which the agency generally agreed with and is taking steps to address. However, two important issues remain unresolved. Specifically, GAO made one recommendation and one matter for Congressional consideration that together call for a comprehensive reevaluation of how Interior manages federal oil and gas resources. Interior has not undertaken such a comprehensive review and until this is done, the public cannot have reasonable assurance that federal oil and gas resources are being appropriately managed for the public good.

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