Administrative Appeal of Federal Valuation and Collection Decisions
I. AN OVERVIEW OF THE ADMINISTRATIVE APPEALS PROCESS FOR ROYALTY VALUATION AND COLLECTION DECISIONS.
The Secretary of the Interior (“Secretary”) has delegated to the Minerals Management Service (“MMS”) primary responsibility for assessing and collecting royalties on production of oil, gas, coal and other minerals produced from federal or Indian lands.2 In the exercise of that authority, [13-2] MMS royalty valuation and collection decisions are typically rendered by the Associate Director for Royalty Management and his Royalty Management Program delegees.3 These decisions are subject to a two-step administrative appeals process.4 First, royalty valuation and collection decisions may be appealed to the MMS Director if they involve production from federal lands5 or to the Commissioner of Indian Affairs6 if they involve production from Indian lands.7 Second, decisions of the MMS Director or the Commissioner of Indian Affairs may be appealed to the Interior Board of Land Appeals (“IBLA”).8 This two-step process, although similar to that used by MMS's predecessor agency for royalty management, the Conservation Division of the United States Geological Survey, is inconsistent with that employed by sister agencies such as the BLM9 where decisions rendered by authorized officers may be appealed directly to the IBLA without review by the BLM Director.10
II. THE REC
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