I find this utterly horrifying. The times has an astonishing piece about Chevron today. It reports that:
"The Interior Department has dropped claims that the Chevron Corporation systematically underpaid the government for natural gas produced in the Gulf of Mexico, a decision that could allow energy companies to avoid paying hundreds of millions of dollars in royalties.
The agency had ordered Chevron to pay $6 million in additional royalties but could have sought tens of millions more had it prevailed. The decision also sets a precedent that could make it easier for oil and gas companies to lower the value of what they pump each year from federal property and thus their payments to the government.
“The natural gas processing business lends itself almost uniquely to chicanery,” said Spencer Hosie, a lawyer who has represented the states of Louisiana and Alaska in several court fights over oil and gas royalties.
Um yeah. And this is happening in an era of high gas prices and obscene profits for oil companies. Frankly, I don't understand why we're not pounding this issue with voters.