Feb 19, 2007
Companies drilling for oil and gas underneath public waters, like the Gulf of Mexico, are supposed to pay royalties to the U.S. Treasury.
From l998 to 2000, companies were given a “royalty relief” for deep water drilling, that is, a 100% tax break.
The “relief” was supposed to end when oil prices went above $34 a barrel. Well, that happened years ago, but the oil companies continued to pocket billions of dollars that could have gone toward reducing the government’s deficit.
The government has called it a bureaucratic error.
But new e-mail records show that top officials had the chance to correct the “error” and did nothing. When confronted with the e-mails during an investigation, the Interior Department official responsible said she “did not remember putting a great deal of thought into the matter.”
Why bother, when the oil companies “thoughtfully” provide the exact wording that they want, on the “regulations” they are supposed to obey?