Investigation turns up more problems at oil royalty agency
A report from the Inspector General at the Interior Department has uncovered more problems at the Minerals Management Service, the agency responsible for the collection of royalties on federal and Indian lands.

Employees accepted gifts from companies going business with the agency, used government computers to watch Internet pornography and circulated inappropriate e-mails at work. At least two employees admitted to using illegal drugs and both said their job duties might have been affected.

The report focused on MMS employees in the Lake Charles District in Louisiana. That's the same one responsible for overseeing drilling in the Gulf of Mexico, where the Deepwater Horizon spill occurred last month.

"Unfortunately, given the events of April 20 of this year, this report had become anything but routine, and I feel compelled to release it now," acting inspector general Mary Kendall wrote in a letter to Interior Secretary Ken Salazar.

A prior OIG investigation found employees at an MMS office in Colorado who engaged in sexual activity and maintained personal relationships with representatives of energy companies. The employees also accepted gifts from the companies.

Get the Story:
Inspector General’s Inquiry Faults Regulators (The New York Times 5/25)
IG report: Meth, porn use by drilling agency staff (AP 5/25)
Report shows close ties between rig inspectors, oil industry (The Washington Post 5/26)
Crisis Places Focus on Beleaguered Agency’s Chief (The New York Times 5/26)
Salazar calls report on federal drilling agency "deeply disturbing" (The Denver Post 5/26)

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Island Operating Company (May 2010)

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