The Big Oil companies in the United States certainly are not hurting for profits. Part of their mega-incomes in 2006 came through government incentives – what the New York Times called some of the most lucrative in the world – to drill in coastal waters. What do we, the people, get from these millions? Not much, according to a new report released by the Interior Department. Well, not really released. The Interior Department has been holding onto this report since it was finished in the fall of 2005. Thanks to "senior officials" complaining that the report was incomplete, the wraps have been kept tightly wound.
And why would this report be kept secret? Well, it sure makes the U.S. government look like a stooge or an enabler of the oil companies. Companies that drill in the Gulf of Mexico have been able to escape paying tens of billions of dollars in royalties that should be due the government. The U.S. government takes about 40 percent of the revenue produced on federal property, compared to an average of about 60-65 percent worldwide. The government is also paying more for this incentivized oil than if it just bought oil on the open market.

Some Democrats have promised to roll back the incentives once they take control of Congress next month. Read the Times article for the full details.

[Source: Edmund Andrews / New York Times]

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