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Federal Offshore Administrative Appeals and Royalty Update

Hugh V. Schaefer, Oil & Gas Development on the Outer Continental Shelf (2002)

On January 12,1999, the Department of the Interior (DOI) published a Proposed Rule in the Federal Register to revise the administrative appeals process for royalty payment orders and appeals of orders of the Minerals Management Service's (MMS) Offshore Minerals Management Program (OMM).1 After the close of the public comment period, the MMS published a Final Rule making final only those portions of the January 1999 Proposed Rule that received few, if any, com- ments.2 The central objective of the Proposed Rule was to eliminate the two-step process for royalty appeals and require all appeals of royalty payment orders to be heard by the Interior Board of Land Appeals (IBLA). Based on the public comments, MMS deferred implementing all of the Proposed Rule and revised 30 C.F.R. Part 290 into subparts A and B. Subpart A relates to appeals for the Offshore Minerals Management program (OMM) and Subpart B relates to appeals from the Royalty Management program which is now known as the Mineral Revenue Management (MRM).3

Subpart J of 43 C.F.R. Part 4 was added to the Final Rule4 in order to implement the specific time frames required by the Federal Oil and Gas Royalty Simplification and Fairness Act of 1996 (RSFA).5

This paper will discuss only Subpart A of 30 C.F.R. Part 290 and will present the various administrative review avenues that were created by the new Subpart