September 10, 2008

Wyden Calls for Major Reforms at Interior Department

Washington, D.C. - Senator Wyden spoke on the Senate floor today in response to a report released by the Inspector General of the Interior Department. The report details numerous problems at the department's Minerals Management Service, which is responsible for ensuring that American taxpayers get their fair share of revenues for drilling on Federal lands. Taxpayers' interests were neglected due to improper relationships between employees and oil companies, a broken royalties program and corruption in the Royalty-in-Kind Program, the report revealed. Wyden demanded reforms at the agency to protect the public's concerns.

"The Inspector General makes it very clear that drastic action needs to be taken. This isn't about a few renegade individuals. It's about a government agency fostering a culture of disrespect for both the public's resources and trust. It's time to suspend the royalty-in-kind program and clean house at the Minerals Management Service. We also need to bring back the process of rigorous audits and establish a level of accountability for employees that makes it crystal clear that the federal government will no longer employ anyone serving any interest other than the public's," said Wyden.

Download the reports:

IG Cover Letter

Investigative Report of MMS - Federal Business Solutions Contracts (Redacted)

Investigative Report of Gregory W. Smith (Redacted)

Investigative Report of MMS - Oil Marketing Group - Lakewood (Redacted)