By Peter O'Dowd
Laramie, WY – A former Wyoming state legislator is now in charge of a federal organization that has been harshly criticized in the past year.
Randall Luthi announced today that he will head the Minerals Management Service in Washington, DC. The group is a part of the US Interior Department in charge of the nation's natural gas and oil resources on the Continental Shelf. Luthi says taking the helm will be a challenge. The organization is recovering from claims that it mismanaged about a billion dollars of drilling royalties in favor of gas companies during the Clinton Administration. Luthi was one of 30 candidates vying for Craig Thomas' empty Senate seat last month. His name has surfaced as a potential Senate candidate in 2008, but he says it's unlikely he'll run now.
"I don't want to get the reputation that I take jobs for six or eight months and then leave them," Luthi says. "While I'll leave that option open, I think it would be difficult to get what I want to get done with MMS and run for the Senate in 2008."
Luthi took over as Deputy Director of the US Fish and Wildlife Service in February.