New MMS Director Appointed

Secretary of the Interior Dirk Kempthorne announced the appointment of Randall Luthi as director of the Minerals Management Service (MMS). Kempthorne made the appointment based on a recommendation by Assistant Secretary for Land and Minerals Management C. Stephen Allred.

Luthi, currently deputy director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, is a former speaker and majority leader of the Wyoming House of Representatives. He previously served in the Department of the Interior and at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). He is a rancher who has also worked as an attorney in private practice.

"Randall Luthi's past experience, including as a leader in the Wyoming legislature, counselor at NOAA and attorney at Interior, make him well suited to head the MMS," Kempthorne said. "This experience, combined with his leadership skills, will enable the MMS to continue to substantially contribute to our goal of reducing America's dependence on foreign sources of energy through safe and environmentally responsible offshore production while also ensuring that the American public receives a fair share of the value of resources extracted from our public lands and waters."

Prior to being named deputy director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in February 2007, Luthi was a partner in the Luthi and Voyles law firm in Thayne, Wyoming. He was first elected to the Wyoming House of Representatives in 1995, and served as speaker in 2005 and 2006.

Based on his work in the Wyoming legislature, Luthi developed an understanding of the importance of royalties paid to the federal government by companies producing energy on our public lands and waters. As Majority Leader and Speaker of the Wyoming House, Luthi was instrumental in formulation of state budgets which relied heavily upon royalties and severance taxes paid by energy companies developing federal leases. In addition, he was a legislative member of the Energy Council, which is an organization comprised of legislative representatives from energy producing states and provinces and private energy-related industries that meet quarterly to learn the latest in developments in energy related technology and to discuss energy policy.

He previously served in federal government career positions in Washington. As Senior Counselor for Environmental Regulations in NOAA's Office of General Counsel from 1990 to 1993, Luthi worked on natural resource damage issues. As an attorney in the Department of the Interior Office of the Solicitor from 1986 to 1990, he provided legal advice on issues related to the Coastal Zone Management Act, the Fish and Wildlife Coordination Act and the Federal Power Act. He also served as the Department's representative on the Exxon Oil Spill Legal Team.

In addition, Luthi worked as a legislative assistant in the office of U.S. Senator Alan K. Simpson of Wyoming. In this capacity, Luthi provided counsel on legal and legislative issues including oil and gas taxation.

Luthi graduated from the University of Wyoming in 1979 with a B.S. in administration of justice, and earned a J.D. from the University of Wyoming in 1982. He owns and operates a cattle ranch in Freedom, Wyoming.

The Minerals Management Service is the federal agency that manages the nation's natural gas, oil and other mineral resources on the outer continental shelf (OCS). The agency also collects, accounts for and disburses more than $8 billion per year in revenues from Federal offshore mineral leases and from onshore mineral leases on Federal and Indian lands. The program is national in scope and headquartered in Washington, D.C. It includes two major programs, Offshore Minerals Management and Minerals Revenue Management. The Offshore program, which manages the mineral resources on the OCS, comprises three regions: Alaska, Gulf of Mexico, and the Pacific. The Minerals Revenue Management program is headquartered in Washington, D.C., but operationally based in Denver, Colorado.

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