Babbitt's blooper

Patrick Crow Washington, D.C. Interior Sec. Bruce Babbitt has further soured his relations with the oil industry with his brash statements at a budget briefing. Oil-state legislators have blocked the Minerals Management Service from issuing its controversial oil royalty rule until June 1, in an attempt to force more MMS-industry negotiations (OGJ, Nov. 9, 1998, p. 36; Aug. 10, 1998, p. 26). But Interior's recent fiscal 2000 budget assumes MMS will issue the rule then, and Babbitt recently said Interior is not inclined to negotiate futher with industry. He also accused oil companies of royalty "evasion and cooking the books." His...

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