Thursday, September 11, 2008

Who's in bed with the oil industry?

Literally in this case. It appears that the government and the oil industry are unethical. I know, who *would* have thunk it? An industry directly responsible for world ecological and social problems on a hither too unseen scale - and you say they don't do ethics? Me oh my!

For those of you who'd like the gos it seems that a whole bunch of US government officials responsible for the ""royalty-in-kind" programme under which energy companies barter oil and gas to the government in return for permission to drill on federal land" have been caught with their drill bits in the slick stuff.

It seems that, contrary to expectations, the US civil service is just one long party with illegal drugs on tap, and sexual favours a plenty - just so long as you're working with this season's favoured rapacious conglomerates.

So endemic was this problem that one in three Minerals Management Service employees were involved in what a top level report describes as a "culture of substance abuse and promiscuity" which was "wholly lacking in acceptance of or adherence to government ethical standards."

According to Think Progress "Gregory Smith, Program Director of the Royalty in Kind Program, referred to cocaine as “office supplies” and rewarded his employees for obtaining it for him." This reward not only included paying for the drugs and extra sex on the side but office "performance awards", which could be considerable amounts of tax payers' money.

One curious defence from some of those accused of mis-deeds has been to say that the sex and drugs were all part of doing their job with due diligence. "Employees said they felt that in order to effectively perform their official duties, they needed to interact in social settings with industry representatives to obtain 'market intelligence'" Well, that's a good line if you're ever in a hole - but I can't guarantee its efficacy.

I think it's time for those in charge to take the drill bit between the teeth and call this for what it is - an orgy of corruption from a government in the pockets of big oil. Odds on that happening? Not this side of November certainly.

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