Issa Statement on Interior Proposal to Split MMS

Published: May 11, 2010

WASHINGTON. D.C. – House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform Ranking Member Darrell Issa (R-CA) released the following statement today regarding the pending proposal Interior Secretary Ken Salazar will be unveiling this afternoon regarding the Department of Minerals and Management Service (MMS):

“MMS has been an agency in crisis for the better part of the Clinton, Bush and Obama Administrations.  Despite numerous reports highlighting the corruption and dysfunction within MMS, it has unfortunately taken a large-scale and costly crisis to get the attention needed to have a legitimate discussion about the need to overhaul MMS and liberate it from the Department of Interior.

“Hopefully, Secretary Salazar’s proposal represents a first step in what must be a comprehensive effort that will address the entirety of the bureaucratic breakdown at Interior.  Working together, we can incorporate the best of all ideas and recognize the problems at Interior and MMS stretch far beyond the Deepwater Horizon incident.

“While there are many outstanding questions surrounding what went wrong and what should have been done to avoid this disaster, what we know for sure is that MMS is in need of a surgical overhaul and that a quick-fix, band-aid approach is wholly inadequate and will only serve to preserve a broken bureaucracy at the expense of the American people and their safety.”

Last October, Issa introduced H.R. 3736, which would strip the Department of the Interior of its management responsibilities for the Minerals Management Service (MMS) and make the troubled collector of oil, mineral, and natural gas revenues an independent agency.  The case for the legislation is made in an Oversight and Government Reform Committee Republican staff report,which concludes MMS will benefit from a divorce from the Department of the Interior and the creation of dedicated funding, a new management structure, and leadership focused on MMS’ unique role in collecting royalties owed to the American people.