As environmental concerns threaten to derail natural gas drilling projects across the country, the energy industry has developed innovative ways to make it easier to exploit the nation’s reserves without polluting air and drinking water.
On a cold, blustery January 28, 2009, the newly appointed Secretary of the Interior of the United States, Ken Salazar, arrived at the headquarters of Minerals Management Service at the Federal Center in the Denver suburb of Lakewood, Colorado.
With him were two men: Interior’s Inspector General Earl Devaney, a former Secret Service agent and police officer, and Salazar’s chief of staff Tom Strickland, the former U.S. attorney for Colorado.
Energy companies now extract over 450 million tons of coal, over 2,254 trillion cubic feet of natural gas, and over 53 million of barrels of oil from Wyoming annually. These companies pay severance taxes for the privilege. Why?