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Editorial: 'Anything goes' at Interior Department

"We knew that bad things would happen when President Bush filled many of his important environmental posts with right-wing activists and industry lobbyists who had spent their careers criticizing the laws they were now being told to uphold and representing industries they were now being told to regulate. Just how bad became clear this week in the course of some pointed testimony from the Interior Department�s inspector general, who accused top officials at his agency of fostering a culture of �managerial irresponsibility� that tolerated conflicts of interest, cronyism and other lapses.

At a House subcommittee hearing, the official, Earl Devaney, said that �short of a crime, anything goes at the highest levels of the Department of the Interior.� The committee had summoned Mr. Devaney to give his views on some flawed drilling leases the department signed in the late 1990�s � before the Bush administration came to office � that could allow big oil companies to escape billions of dollars in royalties on oil and gas produced in the Gulf of Mexico. The leases appear to have been the result of bureaucratic bungling, not favoritism, but Mr. Devaney suggested that Interior had since gone to some lengths to cover up its mistakes."

Get the Story:
Editorial: Interior's Internal Messes (The New York Times 9/16)

Relevant Documents::
Devaney Testimony | Hearing Information

Relevant Links:
House Committee on Government Reform -

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