Friday, September 12, 2008

Fox guards henhouse

From the New York Times article about corruption at the Interior Department's Minerals Management Service:

They also said they did not view socializing with oil company representatives and taking gifts as inappropriate because they said they needed to be part of the marketing culture in order to market the program’s oil and gas. Several of the lower-ranking program officials have been transferred out of their old jobs, the report said. It recommended stronger supervision and a series of changes to make clearer the limits of acceptable behavior, some of which Mr. Luthi said have already been implemented.

Let's be clear here. Socializing is one thing. But on what planet does anyone believe that the "limits of acceptable behavior" include things like having sex or snorting cocaine with customers? Is there any manager reading this who wouldn't fire such an employee on the spot?

One of the arguments for government investment in renewable energy has been that oil and gas technologies have had a cozy relationship with government for years. Investments in renewable energy have ample precedent, and simply serve to level the playing field. But leveling the playing field is pointless if the other side has bribed the referee.

Update: Energy Outlook offers more context, explaining why anyone would bother trying to corrupt a bunch of accountants in Denver in the first place.

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