Your Nation’s Energy Policy

It seems that a number of employees of the agency that collects royalties from oil and gas companies have gotten into a little trouble lately in what the Wall Street Journal quotes as a “culture of ethical failure” where they “allegedly” took gifts including money, drugs, and sexual favors from representatives of the companies they were supposed to be regulating.

Read the whole story here.

According to the article, “some employees” of the agency, which an Interior Department report estimates to be a third of the agency’s staff,  “frequently consumed alcohol at industry functions, had used cocaine and marijuana, and had sexual relations with oil and gas company representatives.”

The companies giving those gifts include Hess, Shell, Chevron, and another company.

To quote the WSJ again: “Democrats seized on the inspector general’s report as evidence of what they say is the Bush administration’s cozy relationship with the oil industry. Congressional Republicans accused Democrats of not following up on earlier Republican-led investigations of possible wrongdoing within the bureau.”

And here’s what really irks me:  Again from the WSJ: “In recent years, the Interior Department has come under criticism … for mistakes … that allowed oil companies to avoid paying royalties for offshore-drilling rights — errors that government auditors have estimated will cost taxpayers as much as $10.5 billion over about 25 years.

What a mess…another of many…

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