‘Word Processing Error’ leads to $7 billion taxpayer expense, oil industry profit

by mcastellon on March 2, 2006

From the AP:

The Interior Department disclosed Wednesday that a provision was mysteriously deleted from hundreds of federal drilling leases in the late 1990s that would have required producers to pay royalties, once prices reached a certain level, on oil or gas taken from deep waters of the Gulf of Mexico.

Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., the subcommittee chairman, called the whole matter “suspicious.”

“This is a $7 billion word processing error,” Issa told reporters. He said some of the leases issued during those two years could remain in effect for as long as 85 years, so the government will be unable to collect royalty payments from oil and gas taken from those leases for decades to come.

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