(a) Action for royalty, interest, or civil penalty; limitations; notice of suit; award of costs and fees
(1) A State may commence a civil action under this section against any person to recover any royalty, interest, or civil penalty which the State believes is due, based upon credible evidence, with respect to any oil and gas lease on Federal lands located within the State.
Terms Used In 30 USC 1734
- Evidence: Information presented in testimony or in documents that is used to persuade the fact finder (judge or jury) to decide the case for one side or the other.
- Jurisdiction: (1) The legal authority of a court to hear and decide a case. Concurrent jurisdiction exists when two courts have simultaneous responsibility for the same case. (2) The geographic area over which the court has authority to decide cases.
- Lease: A contract transferring the use of property or occupancy of land, space, structures, or equipment in consideration of a payment (e.g., rent). Source: OCC
- Litigation: A case, controversy, or lawsuit. Participants (plaintiffs and defendants) in lawsuits are called litigants.
- officer: includes any person authorized by law to perform the duties of the office. See 1 USC 1
- Venue: The geographical location in which a case is tried.
- writing: includes printing and typewriting and reproductions of visual symbols by photographing, multigraphing, mimeographing, manifolding, or otherwise. See 1 USC 1
(2)(A) No action may be commenced under paragraph (1) prior to 90 days after the State has given notice in writing to the Secretary of the payment required. Such 90-day limitation may be waived by the Secretary on a case-by-case basis.
(B) If, within the 90-day period specified in subparagraph (A), the Secretary issues a demand for the payment concerned, no action may be commenced under paragraph (1) with respect to such payment during a 45-day period after issuance of such demand. If, during such 45-day period, the Secretary receives payment in full, no action may be commenced under paragraph (1).
(C) If the Secretary refers the case to the Attorney General of the United States within the 45-day period referred to in subparagraph (B) or within 10 business days after the expiration of such 45-day period, no action may be commenced under paragraph (1) if the Attorney General, within 45 days after the date of such referral, commences, and thereafter diligently prosecutes, a civil action in a court of the United States with respect to the payment concerned.
(3) The State shall notify the Secretary and the Attorney General of the United States of any suit filed by the State under this section.
(4) A court in issuing any final order in any action brought under paragraph (1) may award costs of litigation including reasonable attorney and expert witness fees, to any party in such action if the court determines such an award is appropriate.
(b) Venue; jurisdiction of district court
An action brought under subsection (a) of this section may be brought only in a United States district court for the judicial district in which the lease site or the leasing activity complained of is located. Such district court shall have jurisdiction, without regard to the amount in controversy or the citizenship of the parties, to require compliance or order payment in any such action.
(c) Recovery of civil penalty by State; deposit of rent, royalty, or interest recovery in Treasury of the United States
(1) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, any civil penalty recovered by a State under subsection (a) shall be retained by the State and may be expended in such manner and for such purposes as the State deems appropriate.
(2) Any rent, royalty, or interest recovered by a State under subsection (a) shall be deposited in the Treasury of the United States in the same manner, and subject to the same requirements, as are applicable in the case of any rent, royalty, or interest collected by an officer or employee of the United States, except that such amounts shall be deposited in the Treasury not later than 10 days after receipt by the State.