Letter to Department of the Interior

Mesa County Federal Mineral Lease District
P.O. Box 20,000
Grand Junction, CO 81502

Honorable Sally Jewell, Secretary
U.S. Department of the Interior
1849 C Street, N.W., Room 6151
Washington, D.C. 20240

21 August 2013

Dear Secretary Jewell,

The Mesa County Federal Mineral Lease District strongly objects the decision to sequester royalties owed to states under the Mineral Leasing Act (MLA). We join in the objection filed by the Conference of Western Attorneys General with your office on August 2, 2013.

The funds at issue for our local district come from mineral lease sales, bonuses, royalties and rentals of public lands in Mesa County. The local shares of these royalties are guaranteed to the states in 30 U.S.C. 191 and are critically important for funding the planning, construction and maintenance of public facilities as well as the provision of public service in areas that are socially or economically impacted by development of minerals.

The local share of mineral revenues under the MLA is not a federal expenditure nor a federal appropriation subject to sequestration – it is a royalty which the states and federal government share under law. Sequestration of these funds is absolutely inappropriate and inconsistent with the spirit and letter of the law.

Programs targeted by the so called “sequester” are selected to impart the most political pain possible. Please know, however, that if DOI chooses to politicize Mesa County’s Federal Mineral Lease dollars the agency does so at the expense of local roads, parks, schools, healthcare programs and other critical infrastructure projects funded by FML dollars.

Mesa County serves the nation and economy in producing domestic energy. Receiving FML funds is part of what our community receives in return for this service. To this end we urge you to make good on your end of the bargain and reconsider your position. End sequestration of these royalty payments immediately.

Sincerely,
David Ludlam, President
Mesa County Federal Mineral Lease District

Cc:
US Senators Udall and Bennett
US Representative Scott Tipton
State Senators and Representatives
State Sen. Steve King
State Rep. Ray Scott
State Rep. Jared Wright
Mesa County Commissioners
Garfield County Commissioners
Mayor of the City of Grand Junction
Mayor of the Town of Fruita
Mayor of the Town of Palisade
Mayor of the Town of Debeque
President, Colorado Mesa University
Executive Director, Mesa County School District 51

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