Former Wyoming legislator Randall Luthi has been named director of the Minerals Management Service (MMS), taking over from acting Director Walter Cruickshank, who stepped into the position when Johnnie Burton resigned in May (see Daily GPI, May 9). Luthi, who had been deputy director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, is a former speaker and majority leader of the Wyoming House of Representatives. The Interior Department press release particularly pointed out that Luthi had been a legislative member of the Energy Council, an organization of representatives of producing states and energy-related industries. And in Wyoming “Luthi was instrumental in formulation of state budgets which relied heavily upon royalties and severance taxes paid by energy companies developing federal leases,” the release said. Burton, who had served as MMS director for five years, had been accused of not being aggressive enough in collecting all of the oil and gas royalties due to the government from offshore leases and in recovering lost royalties from flawed leases.

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