An Interior Department report has found that the internal program responsible for collecting $10 billion per year from companies that drill on US land is plagued by unethical practices and mismanagement. The report cited “profound failure,” and said the agency—which is years behind in its billing—wasn’t sufficiently independent from oil and gas companies, the New York Times reports.
The investigation was spurred by four agency auditors, who filed their own lawsuits against oil companies after claiming officials had blocked them from collecting unpaid monies. One auditor lost his job within a week after his lawsuit became public. The report said critics had reason to fear for their jobs; it did not, however, accuse top officials of wrongdoing.